Sea turtles, also called marine turtles, are air-breathing reptiles with streamlined bodies and large flippers. Well-adapted to life in the marine environment, they inhabit tropical and subtropical ocean waters throughout the world.
- NOAA Fisheries

Every year on June 16, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries celebrates sea turtles and conservation efforts to protect these remarkable animals.

Of course, we support any opportunity to celebrate sea turtles!

But first, a little primer on these marine reptiles. There are seven species of sea turtles; all six species found in U.S. waters are protected by the endangered species act: green, loggerhead, Kemp’s ridley, hawksbill, Olive ridley, and leatherback. The flatback sea turtle is found only near Australia. NOAA offers a few ways that your community can come together to help sea turtles:

  • Reduce the amount of garbage along the coast and in local marine habitats. This includes removing trash that can be ingested by turtles and fishing line that can cause entanglements.
  • Watch out for turtles while boating to avoid ship strikes. 
  • Don’t feed wildlife—including sea turtles.
  • If you see an injured, entangled, or stranded sea turtle, please call the appropriate authorities in your area. The Aquarium’s Marine Animal Hotline is 617-973-5247. Find out who is the responding marine rescue group in your area.

Read more ways you can save sea turtles.

Myrtle the green sea turtle
Myrtle in the Giant Ocean Tank | Photo: Esther Horvath

Sea Turtles at the
New England Aquarium

While our actions every day can help sea turtles, most of us don’t encounter sea turtles in our daily lives. And that’s where we can help! Come visit the three sea turtles in our Giant Ocean Tank. There are two loggerhead sea turtles, Retread and Carolina, and one green sea turtle, Myrtle.

Keep reading! Use these links to click around our blog to learn a bit more about these residents of our largest exhibit. 

sea turtle getting meds
A rescued Kemp's ridley sea turtle gets medicine.

Rescued Sea Turtles at Our
Quincy Sea Turtle Hospital

Beyond Central Wharf, the Aquarium is also involved in rescuing and rehabilitating cold-stunned sea turtles. The cold-stun phenomenon happens every fall when the water in Cape Cod Bay cools down. Turtles that fail to migrate south get stuck, become sick and hypothermic, and wash up on Cape Cod beaches. Our rescue team works diligently to treat the turtles until they are healthy enough to be released back into the ocean.

Keep reading! Poke around our blogs to see pictures from some recent sea turtle releases and get a feeling for the hustle and bustle of rescue season.