The green sea turtle is a large turtle with a wide smooth shell. It inhabits in tropical coastal waters all around the world.
It is named not for the color of its shell, which is normally brown or olive depending on its habitat, but for the greenish color of its skin. There are two types of green turtles and scientists are currently debating whether they are the same or separate species.
Weighing up to 700 pounds, green turtles are among the largest sea turtles in the world. Males are slightly larger than females and have a longer tail. Both have flippers that resemble paddles, which make them powerful and graceful swimmers.
Unlike most sea turtles, adult green turtles are herbivorous, feeding on sea grasses and algae.
Most sea turtles warm themselves by swimming close to the surface of the water but the green turtle will take to land to bask in the sun. Occasionally sea turtles are seen sunbathing alongside seals. It is one of the few marine turtles known to leave the water other than at nesting times.
Green turtles, like other sea turtles, undertake lengthy migrations from feeding sites to nesting grounds, normally on sandy beaches. Mating occurs every two to four years and normally takes place in shallow waters close to the shore.
To nest, females leave the sea and choose an area to lay their eggs. They dig a pit in the sand with their flippers, fill it with a clutch of 100 to 200 eggs, cover the pit and return to the sea.
They leave the eggs to hatch for about two months. The most dangerous time of a green turtle’s life is when it makes the journey from nest to sea because of multiple predators, including crabs and flocks of gulls, prey on the hatchlings.
These turtles are interesting and fun to learn about. Have you ever seen a turtle egg in the sand?