Sea turtles can move through the water as fast as 35 mph, coming up frequently for air. When sea turtles are sleeping or resting, usually at night, they can remain underwater for more than 2 hours without needing to breathe. This is because that turtles are capable of retaining higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in their blood than other air-breathing animals, which lets them use their oxygen in a very efficient manner.
The maximum speed of a leatherback sea turtle was measured at around 1.9 – 2.8 meters per second, while the average speed was between 0.56 and 0.84 meters per second. This translates to an average of 1.29 – 1.94 miles per hour, with a top speed of 4.37 – 6.45 miles per hour.
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There seems to be some discrepancy regarding green sea turtles. It might be a semantic issue, but it’s worth noting.
According to this Site (http://www.seaworld.org/infobooks/SeaTurtle/stadapt.html), what is defined as a “cruising speed” for a green sea turtle is 0.9-1.4 mph. However, this Site (http://www.earthtrust.org/wlcurric/turtles.html) says that sea turtles have been observed moving at 35 mph.
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