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Green Sea Turtle

Green Sea Turtle

Quick Facts

Genus: Chelonia mydas

Location: All tropical & subtropical oceans

The Scoop

The Scoop:

Large, plant loving sea turtle

The green sea turtle gets its name from the color of its skin – not its shell! It is one of the largest sea turtles – weighing in at an average of 300 to 500 lbs! The largest green sea turtle on record weighed a whopping 871 lbs – that’s the same as four adult men! On average, they are between 3 and 4 feet long which is the same height as a school aged child. Their shells are a true oval shape and can range from brown to olive green to yellow depending on their habitat. They have large flippers and a small, streamlined head which make them excellent swimmers.

The green sea turtle is the only turtle that is completely herbivorous as an adult – meaning they only eat plants. As an adult they mostly eat sea grasses and algae, but as a hatchling they also eat things like worms, insects and crabs. It’s said that they improve the health of sea grass beds by giving them a daily trim – just like getting your hair cut. Their beak is sharp and finely serrated which is perfect for grazing on the sea grass and scraping algae.

Green sea turtles love warm water and don’t tend to stray far from the coastline. They swim near the surface of the water where it is warmest and they are the only turtles known to come to the shore to bask in the sun! Green sea turtles travel a great distance to nest – often back to the same beach where they were hatched. The females dig a hole in the sand on the beach to lay their eggs. Once done, they return to the water while the eggs incubate for about 60 days.  Each nest contains about 100-200 eggs.

Quick Facts:

  • The only sea turtle that is strictly herbivorous as an adult.
  • Loves warm, coastal waters and is rarely seen in the open ocean.
  • Green sea turtles are named for their skin, not their shell color.

Other Facts:

  • All species of sea turtles are considered threatened or endangered.
  • When hatched, the green sea turtle’s shell is much darker – nearly black!
  • Green sea turtles typically mate every 2-4 years

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