Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas)


Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Family:    Cheloniidae
Size:    Length: Up to 5 feet (1.5 m)
Weight: Up to 400 pounds (181 kg)
Diet: Sea grass and algae
Distribution: Worldwide
Young:  100 to 200 eggs, several times every 3 to 6 years
Animal Predators:  Sharks, whales, kingfish, dolphins, raccoons, feral pigs, cats, crocodiles, foxes, jaguars and many more
IUCN Status: Endangered
Terms: Group: Bale  Young: Hatchling
Lifespan: 50 years or more



·       There are seven species of sea turtles around the world.

·       Green sea turtles are unable to completely retract their head and neck into their shell.

·       Studies have shown that the green sea turtle is the most frequently killed marine animal, but not the most endangered.



Green sea turtles are one of the largest types of turtles in the sea. Their legs are shaped liked paddles, enabling them to swim extremely quickly underwater. They have green skin and an olive, brown or black shell. Males are distinguishable from females by their larger size and their longer tail, which extends from underneath their shell. 



Green sea turtles can be found throughout the tropical and sub-tropical waters of the world. They stay mostly in shallow waters near the shorelines, but will venture deeper to migrate.


Feeding Habits

Although the juveniles are omnivorous, adult green sea turtles are strictly herbivorous; their favourite food is the sea grass found in shallow waters near the coast. 



Mating occurs underwater but close to shore, and females are able to lay several nests of eggs throughout the year from mating one time. When it is time for a female to lay her eggs, she crawls up onto the beach and uses her flippers to dig as deep as she can. Females often use the same beaches every year, usually the same beach that their mothers and grandmothers used. Within the cavity, they lay a clutch of between 100 to 200 eggs and laying them may take hours at a time. When they are finished, they cover them back up to protect them from the sun and from predation. Females do not return to their eggs. Between 40 to 70 days later, the babies break through the shell using an egg tooth, which will disappear within the next few months. They immediately crawl up out of the hole and make their way to the water. Eggs and juveniles are heavily preyed upon, with mammals digging up the eggs and eating them, or eating the soft-shelled juveniles as they head towards the water. Approximately two percent of the eggs will reach adulthood. In the water, there are more predators such as sharks, kingfish and dolphins.



Although green sea turtles need to come up for air eventually, they can stay submerged for up to five hours. They move slowly and awkwardly on land, and rarely leave the water except during nesting season. 



Green sea turtles are extremely vulnerable because they have so many predators. They are threatened by poaching, as their eggs and meat are considered a delicacy. They sometimes become entangled in fishing lines and are attracted to plastic bags floating in the water, which can prove deadly—the plastic bags resemble jellyfish, which are eaten by juveniles, and when they eat the bags, their air passages become blocked. Another problem is with coastal development, which interferes with nesting, as well as hatchlings’ ability to locate the ocean water. They are protected by the Endangered Species Act in the United States.



Green Turtle Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, US