The Turtle Hospital. Rescue, Rehab, Release.

Sea Turtle Species

          There are 7 species of sea turtles throughout the entire world. Five of the seven are found in Florida: Green, Loggerhead, Leatherback, Hawksbill, and Kemp’s Ridley.

Green Sea Turtle

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Scientific Name:  Chelonia mydas

Status: Endangered

Size: 3-5 feet long and weighs 200-500 lbs.

Diet:  Primarily herbivore, eating mainly seagrass and algae

Range: Found worldwide, primarily in tropical seas.

Fun Fact: Their shells are not green as their name suggests. Because they eat so much sea grass and algae, their fat turns green.


Loggerhead Sea Turtle

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Scientific Name: Caretta caretta

Status: Threatened

Size: 2-4 feet long and weighs 200-350 lbs.

Diet: Hard-shelled invertebrates, primarily crabs, lobster, and conch

Range: Temperate and tropical seas, have been tracked migrating over 7,500 miles from nesting beaches in Japan to feeding grounds off the coast of Mexico

Fun Fact: Strongest jaw muscles of all the species, around 900 psi.


Leatherback Sea Turtle

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Scientific Name: Dermochelys coriacea

Status: Critically Endangered

Size: 9-12 feet long and weighs up to 2,000 lbs.

Diet: Jellyfish

Range: Worldwide in all oceans, prefer deeper oceans. They can dive up to 4,000 feet to feed on jellyfish.

Fun Fact: Only sea turtle without a hard shell. Instead their shell is mainly cartilage with small pieces of bone, covered with their leathery skin. This allows them to withstand the pressures of deep diving.


Hawksbill Sea Turtle

Leanna press release

Scientific Name: Eretmochelys imbricata

Status: Critically Endangered

Size: 2-3 feet long and weighs 100-150 lbs.

Diet: Mainly sponges, sometimes small invertebrates

Range: Tropical seas, prefer to be near coral reefs where the sponges are located

Fun Fact: Harvested mainly for their shells, the traditional “tortoise-shell” pattern, used in jewelry, decorations, etc. Named for their bird-like beak.


Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle

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Scientific Name: Lepidochelys kempii

Status: Critically Endangered. Rarest sea turtle

Size: 2-2½ feet long and weighs 75-100 lbs.

Diet: Crabs, lobster, fish, jellyfish

Range: Primarily Gulf of Mexico, occasionally in Atlantic and Caribbean

Fun Fact: Named after Richard Kemp. Unique nesting behavior called “arribada,” where they nest together in the middle of the day. In 1947, there were 42,000 turtles nesting during one of these arribadas. By 1978, there were only 500 nesting females.



The Olive Ridley and Flatback sea turtles are not found in Florida.


Olive Ridley Sea Turtle

olive ridley

Scientific Name: Lepidochelys olivacea

Status: Endangered

Size: 2-2½ feet long and weighs 75-100 lbs.

Diet: Crabs, lobster, fish, jellyfish

Range: Mainly Pacific Ocean and lower Atlantic Ocean

Fun Fact: Named for the olive green color of their shell. They have the greatest number of scutes (shell scales) of any sea turtle.


Flatback Sea Turtle


Scientific Name: Natator depressus

Status: Unknown

Size: 3 feet long and weighs about 200 lbs.

Diet: Sea cucumbers, sea pens, soft corals, jellyfish

Range: Found only around Australia

Fun Fact: Named for the flatness of their shell.