Marine turtles have a large shell called a carapace, four strong, paddle-like flippers and like all reptiles, lungs for breathing air. Their characteristic beak-like mouth is used to shear or crush food.
All seven species of marine turtle pictured in the series are endangered, including the two that frequent waters around Christmas Island: the large, herbivorous Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) and the smaller, critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle (Eretochelys imbricata). Threats to turtles include pollution and habitat destruction, as well as over-harvesting and predation of eggs.
The Green Turtle is the only turtle to also nest on Christmas Island. However, a very significant percentage of hatchlings don’t survive their first few days of life. Christmas Island is especially prone to current-driven plastic and other beach debris that impedes the nesting and hatching of the Green Turtle.