3 min read
Turtles being naturally protected by their shells, makes me wonder whether their coverings are sufficient to keep them safe from predators. Sea turtles are not born fighters, so I was thinking "What would happen if a shark attacked a turtle?" This leads us to our question, Can sharks eat sea turtles? How? I did some research and here's what I found out.
Yes, sharks are capable of eating turtles. A sea turtle's shell is softer than a land turtle's, making it easy for sharks and whales to break it during an attack. Furthermore, sea turtles can't fully retract their heads inside their shells like land turtles do, making them even more vulnerable. In such a rare occurrence that they survive an attack, they are very unlikely to survive since their heads are exposed.
This protective encasing is made up of three main parts - the carapace, plastron, and bridge. Carapace refers to the shell's upper part. On the other hand, the plastron pertains to the bottom part. Lastly, the bridge holds or fuses these two parts. 60 bones comprise the inner layer of a turtle's shell, including their backbone, ribs, and breastbone.
Turtle shells are comprised of hard scutes, also known as shields, that protect the shell itself. The scutes are composed of overlapping keratin, the same substance found in our fingernails, and the most abundant type of protein known today. Some species of turtles, such as softshell turtles, don't have scutes. Instead, their shells are protected by a thick layer of skin.
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