Sea Turtle Adaptation
All living beings are adapted to the changing environment from time to time. Take any animal, and it is not how its ancestors looked. Over a period of time, their appearance has changed as several physical features have undergone changes. These changes were essential so that they can adapt to the newer environments.
The sea turtles are very good swimmers. Their cruising speed can be as high as 1.5 miles. The turtle’s forelimbs are adapted like paddles or flippers so that they can swim long distances. The neck and the limbs of the turtle are non-retractile which is favorable for swimming for them. The shell adaptation is required so that the turtle can draw its legs inside, but this hinders swimming. Also, sea turtles are excellent divers, and they can go as deep as 305 meters. It is also known that looking for jellyfish, their favorite food, they can dive to depths of 1,190 meters.
Sea turtles are cold blooded animals, and they have a really slow metabolic rate. However, because they have a slow metabolism, they are able to stay for longer periods underwater. They can stay submerged for 35 to 45 minutes at one go. Some of the species like green sea turtles can stay underwater for 3 hours at a stretch. During these long dives, oxygen is diverted from tissue that can endure low oxygen levels to important organs like the heart, brain and the central nervous system. Some sea turtles, like the leatherback, have high hemoglobin count. This means that their blood always contains high levels of oxygen. Also, the muscles of the leatherback store oxygen, which is used when the turtle is diving.
In addition, sea turtles have a gland that helps to secrete excess salt from the body. The salt is excreted into the eyes, giving the eyes a shiny wet look. When the sea turtle comes ashore, this wetness helps to ensure that no sand enters the eyes.
The sea turtle is completely adapted to the sea, but on land it is helpless and slow.
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