Olive ridley hatchlings in the sand

Sea turtles

There are seven species of sea turtle, all of which are listed on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. The cheloniidae family includes all the sea turtles apart from the leatherback. Sea turtles can live up to 80 years and spend most of their lives submerged.

They mate at sea and the females come ashore to lay their eggs in nests dug into the sand. A hatchling’s gender is dependent on the temperature of the sand and there is concern that climate change will affect sea turtle populations as warmer temperatures may cause an increase in the proportion of hatching female turtles and a decrease in the number of males.

Scientific name: Cheloniidae

Rank: Family


Map showing the distribution of the Sea turtles taxa

The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.


The following habitats are found across the Sea turtles distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

BBC News about Sea turtles

Elsewhere on the BBC