The journey of a sea turtle is epic, and one that it is difficult to imagine. Just picture this... A tiny hatchling emerges from an egg. It has only one goal: to make it to the safety of the ocean. But, only one in 1000 hatchlings survive the struggle to adulthood.

If it survives, a hatchling can grow to more than 10 000 times its initial size, live for nearly a century and swim up to a million kilometres in its life. But this journey can end when that turtle encounters a man-made danger...

Visit the new interactive Turtle Wall in our Skretting Diversity Gallery to learn more about these awesome reptiles, where they come from, the dangers they face and the work being done to protect them. We won't spoil the interactive learning experiences, but let's touch on some of the lessons you will learn.

Ocean drifters 101

Turtles are slow growers, resulting in most sea turtle species adapting to life in the deep ocean, away from the shoreline. Here food is scarce, and they need to migrate huge distances to find new feeding grounds. As air breathers, they need the land to lay their eggs. The only land that females ever encounter are the beaches on which they hatch. Male sea turtles never return to land. This cycle of following food sources and returning to their place of birth means that sea turtles truly undertake one of the greatest journeys on the planet.

Here's everything you've ever wanted to know about sea turtles in South Africa.

Threats to turtles

During their long journey, turtles encounter plastic pollution in the ocean and mistake it for food. Single-use plastic bags, drinking straws, plastic bottles and the ever-present microplastic pollution all pose risks to them, damaging their insides and resulting in them becoming weaker, or starving to death. Luckily the solution to this problem is simple - cut single-use plastic from your life!

Fishing also poses a risk to turtles - old longline and trawl fishing techniques regularly kill turtles as bycatch. Luckily there are solutions, which you can learn about on our Turtle Wall. In the meantime, avoid fisheries that use these unsustainable practices - check your next seafood meal with the WWF SASSI App.

Saving turtles

Organisations across the globe are working to protect sea turtles. At the Turtle Wall you can learn about the efforts being made by the Two Oceans Aquarium to aid sea turtles in distress. From turtle x-rays, bracessatellite tracking, releasing and rehabilitating hatchlings, to celebrations and cake, you can find out all about it.

And last but not least...

Yes there is a giant turtle shell that you can climb into!

Photo courtesy of @ktzenz.

Photo courtesy of @sholene_rambharuth.

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