- SEA LIFE, Ocean Tunnel
Turtles are ancient reptiles that have been around for over 200 million years!
Meaning they shared our planet with the earliest Dinosaurs.
There are over 300 species of Turtle in our oceans and rivers today. There are seven species of Sea Turtles – some are critically endangered! They are hunted for their beautiful shells and eggs, and often caught in fishing nets or plastic litter.
Green Sea Turtles
Turtles are reptiles. They have to breathe air and are often seen coming to the surface to fill their lungs. They can hold their breath for many hours at a time if they are not stressed, for example when they go to sleep.
Meet Molokai (or Mo to his pals)
- Green sea turtles can live to be over 100 years old - Mo is approximately 44yrs so in turtle years, he's actually more of a youngster!
- Mo was rescued at Heathrow airport from a lady who was trying to smuggle him in via her handbag! He turned 40 in 2016 during the year of the centre’s 20th anniversary and has been in residence since we opened in 1996.
- He is a vegetarian, eating only broccoli, lettuce and most recently has become partial to kale. Molokai likes snoozing under the tunnel and scratching his belly on the corals
- Mo weighs over 20 stone and lives in our 360 degree Ocean Tunnel. He is the king of the ocean tank and is friendly with the other creatures. He even has his own special area in the tank where he likes to sleep!
- Molokai is a firm favourite with our guests; many have been coming back year on year to see him. We even had a guest celebrate his 40th Birthday with him!
Baby Green Sea Turtles
The temperature of the sand in which a Sea Turtle's eggs are buried, determines what gender they will be. If it's warmer they'll be girls, cooler and they'll be boys!
Rescue, rehabilitate and release
SEA LIFE rescues, rehabilitates and releases many Sea Turtles each year which have been injured or lost their way. Turtle Watch allows you to see what happens to these turtles once they are tagged and released!
Plastic bags are deadly to Sea Turtles which often mistaking them for their favourite food, Jellyfish, and choke on them.
When you visit you'll come face to face with our Terrapin Turtles!
Terrapins are often bought when they are very small and cute, but they aren't ideal pets: They need lots of varied food, a heat lamp for sunbathing, lots of water for swimming and they can live for over 40 years!
In fact, all of our Terrapins were donated by people who could no longer care for their pets and we've run out of room.
Boy or Girl?
It's easy to tell! Look for the smallest Terrapins with the longest claws, those are the boys. Males sometimes swim in front of the females, who are much larger than them, and wiggle their long claws in the ladies faces to try and impress them.