Do Sharks Eat Turtles?

do sharks eat turtles
do sharks eat turtles

Do Sharks Eat Turtles?

If you have ever wondered if sharks attack turtles then you are not alone, this is a question asked many times by many different people.  Sea turtles are very long-lived in the ocean some of them growing to an age of over 60 years old, and they have very few predators in the bug blue.

They are also known to be some of the best-armored animals in the ocean, with their big shells giving them a large amount of protection. On the other hand, sharks are carnivores that will eat seemingly anything that moves in the ocean, they have been known to eat almost anything they can get their teeth into.

Most sharks will attack injured or recently dead prey to get a meal but they will also attack live prey if they have the right opportunity to do so. Some sharks, like hammerhead sharks, even have sensors in their nose to discover hidden prey like fish and crabs under the sand.

They can sense the tiny electrical pulses in their muscles to find their prey. So it would seem that if they have such specific tools to find their prey they would have some ways to attack turtles.

Sharks do attack turtles from time to time. There have been several documented sightings of sharks that have attacked turtles.

turtle attacked by a shark

How Do Sea Turtles Protect Themselves?

Green Sea Turtles and Leatherback sea turtles do have some excellent protection from attackers though. Their large shell protects all the vital parts of their body and is much too thick for even the biggest sharks to bite through.

Giving them a large amount of protection around their body. Unfortunately, their protection is not complete and their flippers extend from their shell and can be attacked by sharks.

This is a sea turtle’s greatest weakness and if a turtle is attacked in this way it can cause a turtle to die simply due to excessive blood loss from a bite wound

Doing tricks to avoid being eaten.

Turtles have been known to even perform some interesting underwater moves to avoid being eaten. When a turtle is aware that a great white shark wants to eat them they will turn on their side to make it very difficult for the shark to bit them.

This is usually enough to make a great white turn tail and leave in search of an easier meal. Recently, some fishermen saw a great white shark that had tried exactly this. A great white shark had attacked a turtle, but in the process of biting the turtle, it had gotten stuck in the shark’s mouth. 

Sharks not having any way of removing something from their mouth continued to swim around for a while but sharks require a constant flow of water over their gills to breathe and having the turtle in its mouth would have restricted this flow a lot. Enough to ultimately suffocate the huge beast.

turtle in the ocean

What about other predators?

Orcas or Killer whales have also been known to prey on turtles, but these are the few predators fully grown turtles have to worry about. Baby turtles have a whole range of predators, lizards, dingos, rats, and even foxes attacking the next before they hatch are most common before they make it to the sea. 

But even once they make it into the ocean, while they are small  They are still prey for a lot of other creatures like sea birds, and other bigger predators of the ocean. Only about 10% of turtle hatchlings make it to adult size. Despite them having inbuilt armor.

Conclusion to Do Sharks Eat Turtles?

While turtles are very well protected as adults they do still get attacked and yes sharks and other predators will try to eat them from time to time. But these attacks are not very common as sharks would prefer something a bit easier to eat. 

Turtle eggs and babies on the other hand are attacked very easily and most baby turtles don’t make it to adult life in the wild. This is very sad for such beautiful and peaceful animals like turtles.

Steph Copeland

Author: Steph Copeland

Bio: I am a marine expert that has a passion for sharks and the preservation of the oceans. SharkDefence.com