Space & Innovation

Sea Turtles From Shell to Surf: Photos

Sea Turtle Week is June 16-20, but hey you already knew that. Check out these amazing wide-ranging swimmers.

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Sea Turtle Week is June 16-20, but, hey, you already knew that. To celebrate these wide-ranging swimmers, we take a look at their journey from beach to sea -- and back again. Green turtles (above) are the largest of the hard-shell sea turtles, despite having a small head, and can weigh up to 350 pounds (135-160 kilograms). They can grow to 3 feet in length.

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Every morning during the nesting season for green and loggerhead turtles, ecologists from Israel's Nature and Parks Authority search the Mediterranean coastline for nests. They empty the nests and transplant the fragile eggs to protected hatcheries along the coast. Two months later, removed from man-made obstacles and protected from their natural predators -- crabs, foxes and birds -- the hatchlings enter the sea. Some will return more than 20 years later to the same beach and lay their eggs.

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A loggerhead turtle hatchling races for the Mediterranean Sea after leaving a protected hatchery in Mikhmoret, north of Netanya, Israel.

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Once they hit the water, hatchlings must swim quickly to escape near-shore predators. And curious humans.

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Although sea turtles live most of their lives in the ocean, adult females must return to beaches to lay their eggs.

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This map shows the Hawksbill turtles' migration range. The turtles are capable of traveling hundreds to thousands of miles between nesting beaches and foraging areas, which are comparable to migrations of green and loggerhead turtles.

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Members of the Kuwait Environment Protection Society get ready to release a green sea turtle. The turtle, 45 years old and weighing 150 kilograms, was rescued from a fishing trap and released after undergoing medical attention. A tracking device was fixed on the turtle's back in order to help study the animal's movement in territorial waters.

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At the Miami Seaquarium, kids get a chance to touch one of two loggerhead sea turtles that are prepared to be released back into the wild at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park after undergoing rehabilitation.

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There are seven worldwide species of sea turtle, with six of those found in the United States. Sea turtles are protected under the Endangered Species Act, due to threats from marine debris, bycatch, destruction of their habitat and boat strikes.

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