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3 min read

Do Sea Turtles Bite

By Polinka

A few days ago, I noticed a couple of sea turtles in the ocean, and I asked myself: do sea turtles bite?

Question: Do Sea Turtles Bite?

Answer: Although these aquatic reptiles are not aggressive, they can bite you if they feel danger. Moreover, sea turtles have quite sharp beaks and powerful jaws, so their bites are usually very painful. The sea turtle's bite often creates severe skin bruises and sometimes can break human bones.



So, let's learn more about these animals and their behavior.

 

The Ancient Creatures

Sea turtles are the cousins of dinosaurs, as they emerged as a distinct kind about 140 million years ago. The appearance of these reptiles has not changed much during this time. Furthermore, they live the longest among aquatic animals. Sea turtles are ready for reproduction only after 15 to 50 years. Although they usually mate in the water, they come on the shore to lay eggs.

Sea turtles usually spend the day eating and resting. However, they migrate thousands of miles before the nesting season. Sea turtles sleep on the surface while traveling in deep water. But they prefer sleeping on the rocks when they are near the shore.


Do Sea Turtles Have Teeth?

You may think that if sea turtles can bite you, they are supposed to have teeth. Surprisingly, they do not have them. Nevertheless, sea turtles have sharp beaks which they use to attack their prey or other things that can be dangerous.

The vegetarian sea turtles have broad flat beaks. They use them to crush their food. But the beaks of carnivorous turtles are very sharp, as they kill their prey with them.

However, the ancestors of modern sea turtles had teeth. Over time, their bodies evolved and modified. And now, sea turtles have stronger beaks instead of teeth.

Still, sea turtle hatchlings possess an egg-tooth, and they use it to break the shell of the egg. This formation is not a real tooth, and it disappears after a baby turtle hatches out of its egg.


Do Sea Turtles Attack?

Numerous species of sea turtles differ in size and behavior. Snapping Turtles and Alligator Turtles are the most aggressive of them. Nevertheless, they can only attack you if they need to protect themselves. Although sea turtles' shells are quite hard, they are prone to attack if you get too close to them.

These reptiles are quite curious animals. And sea turtles often get close to humans when they investigate their territory. Also, they often swim close to the seashore, where sea turtles can interact with human beings. Therefore, you should be careful and stay away if you noticed the turtle in the water.

Those who live in Nova Scotia and Canada can meet the big Snapping Turtle swimming in the ocean. These turtles usually keep a distance from humans, and they try to hide when you are too close. But it will be a different story if you face them on land. Female sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs, and they can be quite dangerous to humans.

You should not pick up a Snapping turtle unless you want to get a bite. Most sea turtles hide in their shelves to protect themselves. But a Snapping turtle becomes very aggressive when confronted, so it can bite you causing severe harm.


How Hard Do Sea Turtles Bite?

Many scientists tried to measure the bite force of a sea turtle. They have estimated that the bite force of the adult Loggerhead sea turtle is more than 500 pounds. It is enough to take off your finger.

A full-grown Alligator turtle can grab half of your foot or your whole hand. These animals are notorious biters, so trying to catch them is not the best idea. Their bites can cause very severe injuries.


Conclusion

People do not usually come close to sea turtles, so they do not consider us their prey. They are unlikely to bite you, but turtles can do it if they feel danger. And their bites are very dangerous and painful.

For this reason, you should not try to touch them or get too close. Keeping a distance will be the best solution since even a small bite can cause many problems.

Sea turtles are wild animals, and they carry the bacteria salmonella, which can be deadlier than a bite. So it is always better to avoid such a situation.

 


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