Maine's 9 Sea Turtle Species - All Sea Turtles (2023)

Maine has 9 species of sea turtles, 7 native species, and 2 common turtle speciesturtle speciesCommonly found in nearby coastal waters. More common species native to Maine include the painted turtle, snapping turtle, and musk turtle.

However, some native species are endangered, including the Blandingne and Eastern box turtles, while species such as the forest turtle and spotted turtle are causing ecological problems. Here's our guide to native Maine sea turtles.

Turtles in Maine

1. Blanding's Tortoise

Maine's 9 Sea Turtle Species - All Sea Turtles (1)
  • Experience level:Midden
  • family: Acaridae
  • Scientific name: Termidea
  • Adult size:between 5 and 8 inches
  • to live:up to 80 years
  • Average price range:Between $300 and $450

Named after naturalist William Blanding, these turtles have dark oval shells with yellow spots. Their plastron is yellow with black spots.boring turtleis a distinctive species also known as the "laughing turtle".

The Blanding's sea turtle is an endangered species in Maine. Populations have been fragmented by threats to their preferred swamp habitat. They are cautious, often ducking to safety or retreating into their shells at any sign of trouble.

Blanding turtles are omnivores, eating mainly crayfish, earthworms and aquatic insects. They also occasionally eat plants, and unusually among sea turtles, they don't rely on water to help them swallow.

2. Eastern box turtle

Maine's 9 Sea Turtle Species - All Sea Turtles (2)
  • Experience level:beginner
  • family: Acaridae
  • Scientific name: Carolina Carolina
  • Adult size:between 4 and 7 inches
  • to live:up to 40 years
  • Average price range:Between $120 and $400
  • Recommended books: Box Turtles: Complete Herpes Careby Tess Kok

Eastern box turtleis another endangered species native to Maine. Their thick, dark brown domed shells are marked with distinct yellow and orange markings. Their plastron is also dark brown. Uniquely, eastern box turtles can regenerate their shells.

These turtles can swim up to 50 meters a day in search of food. Eastern box turtles are omnivores, eating fish and invertebrates as well as plants.

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Eastern box turtles prefer forests as well as marsh and grassland areas. Their territory is about 230 meters and they live near streams and ponds.

3. Common musk turtle

Eastern musk turtleAlso known as "stink pots" and common musk turtles because they can release a strong odor from musk glands, which they use to protect themselves from predators. They are relatively common throughout Maine.

Eastern musk turtles have dark, unmarked shells. Their heads are also black with yellow lines on their faces. They prefer swampy and marshy habitats.

The eastern musk turtle is an omnivorous species that hunts its prey by scent. They mainly eat molluscs, crayfish, small fish and tadpoles. They are not good swimmers, so don't really go after prey.

4. Snapping turtle

Maine's 9 Sea Turtle Species - All Sea Turtles (4)
  • Experience level:Intermediate to Expert
  • family: Turtle Branch
  • Scientific name:Chelydra Serpentina
  • Adult size:between 8 and 20 inches
  • to live:Between 30 and 50 years old
  • Average price range:Between $20 and $40
  • Recommended books: Snapping Turtle Owners Guide (Ben Team)

The largest amphibious sea turtles are native to Maine,snapperCan be found around large bodies of water. They can be aggressive, often hissing and biting. They don't get much sun and prefer to stay in the water.

The common snapper is distinguished by its distinctive hooked "beak" and usually has a dark brown or green shell. They also have relatively strong claws and a long tail with jagged ridges.

Snappers are nocturnal omnivores that primarily eat fish and other aquatic prey. They also eat underwater vegetation. There are examples of snappers eating small waterfowl if they get close enough.

(Video) Top facts about sea turtles | WWF

5. Painted Turtle

Maine's 9 Sea Turtle Species - All Sea Turtles (5)
  • Experience level:beginner
  • family: Acaridae
  • Scientific name: scarabee
  • Adult size:between 4 and 10 inches
  • to live:Between 30 and 50 years old
  • Average price range:Between $20 and $50
  • Recommended books: De Painted Turtle Pet Owner's Guidethrough the team

Two subspecies of painted turtles are native to Maine:oriental paintingInMediterranean paintedA popular species of turtle kept as a pet, the Painted Turtle has a dark shell and yellowish-streaked markings.

The eastern painted turtle's plastron ranges in color from orange to red with black and yellow patterns. Midland Painted turtles can be distinguished by the black shaded spot in the center of their plastron.

Primarily an aquatic species, the painted turtle is close to the water and likes to bask in the sun. Painted turtles are omnivores, mainly eating molluscs, frogs and underwater invertebrates. They have to swallow food in the water.

6. Spotted Turtle

Maine's 9 Sea Turtle Species - All Sea Turtles (6)

spotted turtleis a small but beautiful species. Their glossy shells are black and topped with the bright yellow dots that give them their namesake. Their plastron is yellow with large black spots of various sizes on the sides.

These semi-aquatic turtles prefer shallow water next to swamps and swamp habitats. Spotted turtles like to bask in the sun and often perch on logs near the water.

This omnivorous species often eats invertebrates, crustaceans, molluscs and plants. Their small size makes them great pets. They are considered a species of concern in Maine and are very sensitive to local water pollution.

7. Wood Turtle

Maine's 9 Sea Turtle Species - All Sea Turtles (7)
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  • Experience level:Midden
  • family: Acaridae
  • Scientific name: Glyptemys registered
  • Adult size:between 5 ½ and 8 inches
  • to live:40 years in the wild, 58 years in captivity
  • Average price range:Between $249 and $495
  • Recommended books: Forest Turtles: A Guide to Pet Care with Forest Turtlesvan Lollipop Brown

wooden turtleis an intelligent species, but their conservation status in Maine is concerning. Their main habitats are forests and ponds.

They are active during the day and roam in search of food. They are omnivores and often eat berries, plants, molluscs and earthworms. They can create vibrations in the ground by shaking themselves, tricking the worms into thinking it's raining.

Wood turtles are named for their rough shell and feel like wood. Their patterns resemble annual rings and wood grain. They are usually brown.

Turtles in Maine

There are also two species of sea turtles that regularly visit the waters around Maine. They are the Ridley sea turtle and the leatherback turtle. Both species are endangered. While they cannot be kept as pets, here are some facts about these marine species.

8. Kemp's Ridley Turtles

Maine's 9 Sea Turtle Species - All Sea Turtles (8)
  • family: Turtle Branch
  • Scientific name:Claw crab
  • Adult size:about 25 inches
  • weight:Between 75 and 100 lbs
  • to live:about 30 years old
  • conservation status:seriously endangered
  • Habitat:Sandy or muddy banks in shallow water
  • Coupling size:Between 100 and 110 eggs, 2 to 3 clutches per breeding season
  • food:shellfish and crustaceans
  • appearance:The beak is slightly curved and the head is triangular in shape. Green to gray round shells. Soft cream or yellow plastron and abdomen.

look at ourRidley Turtle-paginato know more information.

9. Leather shield pad

Maine's 9 Sea Turtle Species - All Sea Turtles (9)
  • family:Leatherback onderfamilie
  • Scientific name:leather turtle
  • Adult size:between 6 and 7 feet
  • weight:Between 1200 and 1450 lbs
  • to live:about 30 years old
  • conservation status:vulnerable
  • Habitat:Warm water, mostly shallow and calm bays or lagoons. Nests are often found on sandy beaches.
  • Coupling size:100 to 110 eggs
  • food:Jellyfish are their main diet, but they also eat other sea creatures
  • appearance:Their large soft carapace, unique among sea turtles, has prominent ridges all the way down. The colors vary between black and dark grey.

For more information, please refer to ourLeatherback sea turtle page.


The nine species pictured here are all native to Maine and range from common turtles such as the common snapping turtle, eastern musk turtle, and painted turtle to endangered species such as the Blanding's or the wood turtle.

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We also have two species of sea turtle that frequent Maine's coastal waters, the Ridley's sea turtle and the leatherback turtle.

Do you like this article? Comments are welcome below!

other nearby states

  • european turtle
  • Turtles in Massachusetts
  • Turtles in New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island Turtles
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(Video) * SEA TURTLES * | Animals For Kids | All Things Animal TV


Which sentence is the best hook for a speech about saving sea turtles? ›

Which sentence is the best hook for a speech about saving sea turtles? Sea turtles have populated Earth's oceans for more than 100 million years.

How many species of turtles are in Maine? ›

There are 9 types of turtles in Maine, 7 native species as well as 2 common varieties of sea turtle species that frequently appear in nearby coastal waters. The more common species native to Maine are Painted turtles, Snapping turtles, and Musk turtles.

How many different species of sea turtles are there responses? ›

There are seven species of sea turtles, which are marine reptiles that need to breathe air to survive. Six of the seven species are found in US waters, and the flatback turtle is only found in the Western Indo-Pacific.

Are all eight species of sea turtles threatened or endangered? ›

The seven existing species of sea turtles are the flatback, green, hawksbill, leatherback, loggerhead, Kemp's ridley, and olive ridley sea turtles. All of the seven species listed above, except for the flatback, are present in US waters, and are listed as endangered and/or threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

What is the main idea of saving sea turtles? ›

Healthy oceans need sea turtles. Sea turtles are a "keystone species", which means they are an important part of their environment and influence other species around them. If a keystone species is removed from a habitat, the natural order can be disrupted, which impacts other wildlife and fauna in different ways.

What is a short paragraph about the sea turtle? ›

Sea turtles are reptiles remarkably suited to life in the sea. Their hydrodynamic shape, large size, and powerful front flippers allow them to dive to great depths and swim long distances. These front flippers are long, narrow, and winglike, while their hind flippers are shorter.

What turtles are rare in Maine? ›

The Eastern box turtle is the rarest of Maine's turtles. This small turtle (3 to 7 inches) is found in forested wetlands near streams, heaths and marshes.

What turtle is endangered in Maine? ›

Because they depend on both terrestrial and aquatic habitats, wood turtles are vulnerable to habitat loss throughout their range. The wood turtle is designated as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) in all states where it occurs and has been petitioned for listing under the Endangered Species Act.

Is it illegal to keep a wild turtle in Maine? ›

They have become a nuisance pest, so much so that as of 2017, the Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife banned the ownership of red-eared sliders completely. It is now illegal to buy or own these turtles in Maine, and that includes buying them out of state and transporting them back.

Are there 7 or 8 species of sea turtles? ›

Seven species of sea turtles can be found in every ocean around the world. From leatherbacks to loggerheads, six of the seven species are threatened or endangered at the hand of humans. Below you can learn about each of the species including their biology, ecology, threats, and distribution.

What are the rarest type of sea turtles? ›

Kemp's ridley turtles are not just the rarest, but also the smallest sea turtle species in the world, measuring only about two feet in diameter and weighing in at about 70 to 100 pounds each.

What is the least endangered sea turtle? ›

Loggerhead (Caretta caretta)

The loggerhead was listed in the United States under the Endangered Species Act as threatened in 1978, and is the only sea turtle species not listed as endangered.

Will sea turtles go extinct? ›

Climate change has an impact on turtle nesting sites; it alters sand temperatures, which then affects the sex of hatchlings. Nearly all species of sea turtle are now classified as endangered, with three of the seven existing species being critically endangered.

What 4 of 7 sea turtle species known to exist in the world today are found in the Philippine oceans? ›

The Philippines is home to 5 of the 7 sea turtle species in the world: Green Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle, Loggerhead Turtle, Leatherback Turtle and Olive Ridley.

How are people helping increase the population of sea turtles? ›

Conservation efforts over the past several decades are showing success. The protection of nesting beaches, reduction of bycatch in fisheries, and prohibitions on killing sea turtles and collecting their eggs have led to increasing numbers of green turtles nesting in the United States.

How many years do sea turtles live? ›

Few survive to adulthood, with estimates ranging from one in 1,000 to one in 10,000. Sea turtles' natural lifespan is estimated to be 50-100 years.

Why do we need sea turtles? ›

Sea turtles have played vital roles in maintaining the health of the world's oceans for more than 100 million years. These roles range from maintaining productive coral reef ecosystems to transporting essential nutrients from the oceans to beaches and coastal dunes.

What do sea turtles need to survive? ›

Sea turtles are adapted to live in the ocean, with some unique features that help them to survive in the marine environment. As reptiles, they require air to breathe and land to lay their eggs. However, the majority of their lives are spent underwater.

What is a life lesson from a sea turtle? ›

Slow down.

Sea turtles move slow and steady. We can learn a lot about slowing down from them, especially when we have crazy work schedules and lives. In the fast-paced world we live in, it's easy to get caught up in the “thick of thin” things. Slowing down has helped me recognize the things that matter most.

What are 20 interesting facts about sea turtles? ›

20 Terrific Facts About Sea Turtles
  • Hawksbill turtles are named for their jaws. ...
  • Green turtles go for greens. ...
  • Leatherbacks turtles are adapted for eating soft stuff. ...
  • Olive Ridley turtles have mass nesting parties. ...
  • Nest temperatures determine the sex of sea turtle hatchlings.
Dec 8, 2014

What is the prettiest sea turtle? ›

Considered by many to be the most beautiful of sea turtles for their colorful shells, the hawksbill is found in tropical waters around the world. They spend their time in coral reefs, rocky areas, lagoons, mangroves, oceanic islands, and shallow coastal areas.

What is the nicest turtle? ›

The Wood Turtle is known for being very friendly, with the right handling and interaction, and pretty hardy. Their needs aren't as complex as most aquatic species. They do need a decent-sized enclosure though, and this means they're often best suited to being kept in an outdoor environment.

What is the most beautiful turtle? ›

Remarkable, Tropical, and Hunted for Centuries. Noted for the thick, overlapping, dappled cream-and-brown scutes that cover its carapace and plastron and provide excellent camouflage against a coral reef backdrop, the hawksbill is considered by many to be the most beautiful of all sea turtle species.

Where do Maine turtles go in the winter? ›

When winter arrives, freshwater turtles dive down to the muddy bottom of ponds where the temperature never gets below 1°C. Nestled in the mud, their metabolism slows down. This allows them to survive for months without food and with very little oxygen. Unlike other cold-blooded animals, turtles don't hibernate.

What is the rarest turtle in the United States? ›

“The bog turtle is North America's smallest and rarest turtle species—and its most imperiled,” the Center for Biological Diversity said in its application to get the turtle listed as threatened or endangered. “The southern bog turtle population has collapsed.

Can you hunt turtles in Maine? ›

A person may take up to two snapping turtles for personal use if they are killed immediately. A person may also take snapping turtle eggs for personal use/consumption.

Can I keep a turtle that I found in the wild? ›

You should return the turtle to where it was found and release it as soon as possible. Another problem associated with turtles is that they carry salmonella bacteria, and can infect people who touch them and don't wash their hands afterward.

Can you eat snapping turtles in Maine? ›

Snapping turtle meat forms the basis of “turtle soup,” including, at one time, Campbell's brand. Hunting and trapping snapping turtle for personal use is permitted by Maine law.

Can you put a turtle back into the wild? ›

It is illegal to release the specimen (animal) you have in the state where you live. The animal has been held captive with other turtles of similar or different species from another population, whether instate or out-of-state.

Do purple turtles exist? ›

Young Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtles are a uniform purple all over.

Do blue turtles exist? ›

While all other sea turtles have hard, bony shells, the inky-blue carapace of the leatherback is somewhat flexible and almost rubbery to the touch.

Is there a GREY turtle? ›

Flatback turtles (Natator depressus) are named for their flattened carapace, which is olive-gray in color. This is the only sea turtle species not found in the United States.

What is the most exotic turtle? ›

They're flattened, often quite large, and have a weird pointy nose. Although not all are threatened, one species of the softshell variety is the world's rarest turtle on the planet, close to extinction with only three known individuals left in the world: the Yangtze giant softshell turtle.

Are black sea turtles rare? ›

From a conservation perspective the Pacific Black Sea Turtle is currently considered to be ENDANGERED primarily due to exploitation by humans. Present population estimates vary from 5,000 to 10,000 individuals. They have slow growth rates, are slow to reach maturity and have slow reproductive rates.

What is the most giant sea turtle? ›

The leatherback is the largest living sea turtle.

Weighing in at between 550 and 2,000 pounds with lengths of up to six feet, the leatherback is a big turtle!

How old is the oldest sea turtle? ›

The lifespan of olive ridley sea turtles is around 50 years, while the hawksbill is 50 to 60 years. Green turtles have an average lifespan of 70 years, while the flatback and loggerheads can also live for 70 to 80 years.

How many hearts do sea turtles have? ›

Sea turtles, like most reptiles, have three-chambered hearts: two atria and one ventricle with a sinus venosus preceding the atria.

What is the smallest sea turtle in the world? ›

Kemp's ridley sea turtles are the smallest sea turtle in the world. The species is named after Richard M. Kemp, a fisherman from Key West, Florida, who first submitted the species for identification in 1906.

How long can a turtle live without a head? ›

Freshwater tortoises, when subjected to the same experiment, continued similarly, but did not live so long. Redi also cut the head off a tortoise entirely, and it lived for 23 days.

What are blue turtles called? ›

Blue Zoo: Leatherback Sea Turtle.

What would happen if all the turtles died? ›

As the number of turtles declines, fewer eggs are laid in the beaches, providing less nutrients. If sea turtles went extinct, dune vegetation would lose a major source of nutrients and would not be as healthy and would not be strong enough to maintain the dunes, resulting in increased erosion.

Can sea turtles be saved? ›

What Can You Do to Protect Sea Turtle Habitat? Reduce marine debris that may entangle or be accidentally eaten by sea turtles. Participate in coastal clean-ups and reduce plastic use to keep our beaches and ocean clean. Trash in the ocean can harm sea turtles and other creatures that live there.

Do sea turtles ever return to land? ›

The female sea turtle will return to the beach only to lay her eggs. Male sea turtles do not return to land. It has been found that many female sea turtles return to the same beaches where they were born to lay their nests.

What is the most common turtle in the world? ›

The olive ridley is the most abundant sea turtle in the world. Each year, there are probably about 500,000 to 600,000 females nesting in arribadas (mass nesting sites) in Costa Rica, 450,000 in Mexico and about 135,000 in India; with a total female population of about 2 million turtles.

What is the name of the most hunted sea turtle? ›

In many parts of the world, hawksbills face the unique threat of being hunted for their beautiful shell, also known as “tortoise shell”, which is used by craftspeople to create many types of jewelry and trinkets. The historical hunting and killing of hawksbills for their shell nearly drove the species to extinction.

What country has the most turtle species? ›

Costa Rica's abundance of sea turtles derives largely from its geographic position that spans the Central American isthmus, which thus bestows it with 1,016 km (631 mi) of Pacific coastline and with 212 km (132 mi) more on its Caribbean shore.

How do you write a hook sentence for a speech? ›

12 Killer Hooks to Grab Your Audience's Attention
  1. Use a contrarian approach. ...
  2. Ask a series of rhetorical questions. ...
  3. Deliver a compelling sound bite. ...
  4. Make a startling assertion. ...
  5. Provide a reference to a historical event. ...
  6. Use the word imagine.
Oct 26, 2021

What if you hook a sea turtle? ›

If you hook a SEA TURTLE, immediately call the 24-hour hotline at 1-877-942-5343 and follow response team instructions. If you cannot reach a response team, follow these guidelines to reduce injuries: 1) If possible, use a net or lift by the shell to bring the turtle on pier or land. Do NOT lift by hook or line.

What is a sentence for sea turtle? ›

1. The sea turtle is an endangered species . 2. But will the majestic green sea turtle survive us?

Why is it important to save endangered sea turtles? ›

Fundamental Link in Marine Ecosystems. Sea turtles are a fundamental link in marine ecosystems. They help maintain the health of seagrass beds and coral reefs that benefit commercially valuable species such as shrimp, lobster, and tuna.

What is an example of a good hook statement? ›

Example: “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen” said Michael Jordan, arguably the best player to ever play in the NBA. Here, Jordan talks about how people want, dream, wish, and pray that they will one day make it to the big stage.

What is a good hook sentence? ›

A strong statement hook is a sentence that makes an assertive claim about your topic. It connects to the thesis statement and shows the importance of your essay or paper. A strong statement is a great technique because it doesn't matter if your reader agrees or disagrees with your statement.

What makes a good hook sentence? ›

The key to writing a great hook begins with brainstorming a compelling opening statement or question that will capture the attention and interest of readers. No matter what the essay topic is, it's possible to craft a compelling hook. Use these hook sentence examples to get some ideas.

Is it OK to touch a sea turtle shell? ›

It's Illegal

Many of them are protected under the Endangered Species Act and are also sacred to their community's cultural heritage. It's illegal to touch, feed, or harass them, and there will be consequences.

Why can't you pick up sea turtles? ›

You can't touch or hold the baby sea turtles because it affects their survival. They imprint on the sand where hatched. Oils from your skin can interfere with their imprinting process. If you grip them too hard you could break the white dot on their belly which holds three days worth of food.

Can a turtle survive swallowing a hook? ›

A fishing hook left intact could affect a turtle's ability to forage for food and go about their daily life. If a hook were to be swallowed it could get lodged in the turtle's throat or gastrointestinal tract. This would be especially agonizing for a turtle and prove fatal.

What are 2 cool facts about sea turtles? ›

Sea turtles don't retract into their shells.

Unlike other turtles, sea turtles cannot retract their flippers and head into their shells. Their streamlined shells and large paddle-shaped flippers make them very agile and graceful swimmers. In the water, their rear flippers are used as rudders, for steering.

How much is a sea turtle worth? ›

The median was US$975,044 and the average US$1.6 million. The revenue from the non-consumptive sites, i.e. those where turtles are a major tourist attraction, includes all expenditure (food, accommodation, souvenirs, transport, and other costs) incurred by tourists during their time at the turtle-watching location.

What eats a sea turtle? ›

Adult sea turtles have a few predators, mostly large sharks. Tiger sharks, in particular, are known for eating sea turtles. Killer whales have been known to prey on leatherback turtles. Fishes, dogs, seabirds, raccoons, ghost crabs, and other predators prey on eggs and hatchlings.


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