Sea turtles can swim at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour. However, they have been known to swim even faster in short bursts or when trying to elude a predator.
Unlike other types of turtles, the sea turtle's shell is small, flat and fairly lightweight, which allows the animal to cut through the water quickly. Their strong front legs are shaped like paddles, which also helps them swim swiftly. Since a sea turtle can't retract its head and legs into its shell, swimming quickly is essential for its survival. Although they are fast in the water, sea turtles travel very slowly on land.