Ocean Life: Green Sea Turtle
Green sea turtles (chelonian mydas) are powerful, graceful swimmers and beautiful creatures. Despite the name, a green sea turtle’s shell is not always green. It can also be a blend of brown, olive, and/or black depending on their environment. Unfortunately, they are listed as an endangered species and a subpopulation of them in the Mediterranean are listed as critically endangered. Even then, they are still hunted and killed for their meat and eggs. Boat propeller accidents, drowning caused by fishnets, and the destruction of their nesting sites by human encroachment, are other reasons their population count is in rapid decline.
Where They Live:
You can find green sea turtles around the world in tropical and warm subtropical ocean waters. There are different populations found in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans.
Adult green sea turtles are herbivores and feed primarily on sea grasses and algae. The juvenile turtles have a more expanded diet of plant and animal life which includes crabs, sponges, sea grasses, worms, insects, and jellyfish.
How They Mate:
Green sea turtles take on lengthy migrations from feeding to nesting sites. They visit these nesting grounds to mate every two to four years in shallow waters close to shore. After mating, the females usually go to the same beach used by their mothers. They dig a pit with their flippers and lay their eggs (numbering about 100 to 200); when they’re done, they cover the pit and return to sea leaving their eggs to hatch after about two months.
Did you know that green sea turtles are one of the largest sea turtles in the world? They can weigh up to 700 pounds (317.5 kg) and they have a heart-shaped shell, or carapace, that measures up to 5 feet in length.
What Do You Think?
What is the average life span of a green sea turtle?
Answer: In the wild, a green sea turtle has an average life span of over 80 years!
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