The Beacon

Thursday Trivia: Flatback Sea Turtles

A flatback sea turtle. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

We’re down to the last sea turtle in our trivia series, and it’s the least understood species of all – the flatback.

Flatback sea turtles nest only in Australia, and as a result of their limited range they are are poorly understood and at serious risk. Fortunately, Australia is working hard to protect large portions of the flatback’s habitat.

In addition to their namesake flat shells, flatbacks can be recognized by their olive-grey tops and yellow bellies. These turtles are known to float on the surface of the ocean, sunning their shells, often with birds on their backs. Flatbacks eat primarily fish, mollusks, and sea squirts.

Flatback turtles are caught accidentally in fishing nets, and they made up the majority of turtle bycatch in the Northern Prawn Fishery until turtle excluder devices – i.e. escape hatches -- were introduced. Other threats to flatbacks include coastal pollution and habitat degradation.

Oceana’s sea turtle campaign focuses on preventing sea turtle bycatch, protecting habitat, and promoting legislation that keeps turtles safe. You can learn more about flatback sea turtles from Oceana’s marine wildlife encyclopedia.

If you can tweet us the name of every type of sea turtle, you could win a tote bag. That’s it for our sea turtle themed trivia! We’ll be back next week with more fun facts about other ocean animals. 


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