What Are The Different Types of Turtle in the Great Barrier Reef?

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most densely populated spots for marine life, boasting a whole host of underwater creatures, from sharks and whales to vibrant fish and ancient turtles.

In fact, the region is home to six of the seven marine turtle species in the world, including the small, omnivorous Hawksbill and the rare Loggerhead.

Turtles live, hunt, and breed in the Great Barrier Reef throughout the year, though the majority of their activity takes place in the warmer summer months as they gear up for breeding season. For the most part, the rookeries (the name of the turtle’s nesting areas) can be found to the south and north of the Great Barrier Reef.

During the mating season, turtles that are ready to breed give up eating to focus on other activities. And, when the deed is done, the males go back to their usual feeding grounds while the females stick around and start nesting.

The Turtles of the Great Barrier Reef

  • The Flatback

    The flatback turtle can only be found in Australia, with exclusively all of its known breeding sites set around the coastline here. They can often be found in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef during the summer months.

  • The Green Turtle

    The common green turtle is one of the most populated species in the Great Barrier Reef. They can mostly be found in coral reefs that are thick with seaweed or in seagrass pastures that are typical of tropical Australia.

  • The Hawksbill

    The small, omnivorous Hawksbill turtle can often be found in sub-tidal coral reefs and rocky habitats throughout the Great Barrier Reef. Their main feeding area sprawls out along the east coast of Australia, encompassing the Great Barrier Reef and its surroundings.

  • The Leatherback

    Found in the warm waters of the Great Barrier Reef, the leatherback turtle is carnivorous, feeding predominantly on tropical jellyfish and other soft-bodied marine creatures than can be found in the area.

  • The Loggerhead

    Though the increasingly rare loggerhead turtle can be found in various different tropical locations around the world, in Australia they tend to gravitate towards coral reefs, bays, and estuaries in tropical parts, particularly in the warm waters of the Great Barrier Reef.

  • The Olive Ridley

    This humorously named turtle species can be found in soft-bottomed regions of the Great Barrier Reef and prefer to live in parts with protected waters.

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