Scientific Name: Chelonia mydas
Category: Sea Turtles
What Does a Green Sea Turtle Look Like?
Green sea turtles are the largest species of sea turtles in the world. Adults can reach 90 centimeters in length and 180 kilograms in weight. This species of sea turtle gets its name from the green color of both its flesh and the fat under its shell. A notable characteristic of the green sea turtle is that its head looks too small for its body size. It only has one distinguishable set of scales in front of its eyes compared to the majority of other species of sea turtles that have two sets.
Where Do Green Sea Turtles Live, Breed and Eat?
Most green sea turtles live in the tropical regions of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. Adult female turtles migrate over a thousand miles, to return to the same beach from which they hatched, to lay eggs. Females lay nests of over 100 eggs and incubate the eggs for about 60 days. There is a lot of variation in how often they nest; some sea turtles have been known to return to their nesting place from 3 to 5 times each season.
Green sea turtles prefer to live along coastlines where there are beds of seagrass and algae, the staple of their diet. When they are young hatchlings, they eat insects, worms, crustaceans, grasses, and algae. However, as adults they are strict herbivores, eating only plant material.
What Are Some Threats to the Green Sea Turtle?
The coastal areas where green sea turtles live are also popular fishing areas. Turtles are sometimes caught in gillnets, trawls, traps, longlines, and other fishing gear. In addition, green turtle eggs are a valuable delicacy. Over time, the effects of removing eggs and turtles from their nesting beaches, to use as a human food, have impacted the existing sea turtle population. Today, the endangered Green Sea Turtle is protected by law. In order to help protect this species, fishermen and scientists are working to improve fishing gear so they will not ensnare the animals and reduce human interference with their eggs and nesting sites.
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