Advisory: The National Aquarium is a private nonprofit organization and remains open during the federal government shutdown.

Happy World Turtle Day!

This Saturday is World Turtle Day! Turtles, one of the oldest living species, have existed on Earth for roughly 150 million years. These resilient, shelled reptiles have long been celebrated animals, featured in films and artwork, as sports mascots and in storybooks.

Published May 21, 2015

yellow-footed-tortoise

Today, there are about 300 different turtle and tortoise species, including seven different types of sea turtle. But they face a number of obstacles. Six of those seven sea turtles are considered endangered or threatened. And in fact, more than half of the world’s turtle and tortoise species are in the same boat.

Many of the threats facing these animals are manmade—things like habitat loss, over-harvesting for food and the pet trade, and pollution.

sea-turtle

Plastic bags are petroleum based and don’t biodegrade, which spells trouble for sea turtles who often mistake the trash for jellies—a main staple in their diet. The plastic is indigestible and can hurt, or sometimes kill, sea turtles when ingested.

Simple steps, like choosing reusable bags and recycling plastic bags, can keep some of that plastic from our waterways and help protect sea turtles.

Celebrate World Turtle Day with us by joining our 48 Days of Blue movement to make small changes for a healthier blue planet!

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