Green Sea Turtle
Similar Animals:
 Loggerhead Sea Turtle
 Hawksbill Turtle
 Flatback Turtle
 Kemp's Ridley
 Olive Ridley



Green Sea Turtle
Photographer: Mila Zinkova


Green Sea Turtle


Green Sea Turtle Range Map (Worldwide)
Green Sea Turtle Range Map (Worldwide)
Yellow circles represent minor nesting locations. Red circles are known major nesting sites.

Immature Green Sea Turtle
Photographer: Mak Thorpe
Latin Name Chelonia mydas
Conservation Status Endangered
Location Worldwide
Colour Greenish/Brown
Length 1 - 1.2 m (3.5 - 4ft)
Habit Aquatic
Breeding Oviparous

Main Characteristics

Green Sea Turtles are one of the largest and most wide spread marine turtles. They can reach lengths between 1 and 1.2 m (3.5 - 4 ft) and their average weight is in the region of 200 Kgs (441 lbs). In the wild they can live for up to 80 years.

The carapace (shell) of a Green Sea Turtle has smooth, non-overlapping scutes and these are coloured various shades of brown and have patterns that change over time. The plastron (underside) is lighter coloured.

They have a small head that is covered in brown scales that have a light coloured edging and they have paddle-like limbs which enables them to be graceful, streamline swimmers.

Habitat

Green Sea Turtles are found in tropical, sub-tropical and temperate waters worldwide. There are two major subpopulations of Green Sea Turtle, the atlantic population and the pacific population.

Diet

Green Sea Turtles are herbivores and they mainly feed upon seaweed and sea grasses. When they are young they will also eat marine invertebrates but as they get older their intake of plant matter increases until they become completely herbivorous.

Breeding

Green Sea Turtles mate in shallow water approximately 1 Km (0.62 miles) from the nesting site. After copulation, and when the female is ready to lay her eggs, she will crawl ashore after dark. She will dig a large pit above the high tide line and in it she will lay 100 - 200 eggs. This group of eggs is called a clutch and she will cover them over with sand to protect them from the sun and any predators.

After 6 - 8 weeks the young turtles will hatch and they will move their flippers to make their way to the surface. Once at the surface they will cross the beach to the sea. When they reach the sea they will float away and spend the next couple of years eating plankton until they are mature enough to feed on sea grasses.

The first few years of life is the most hazardous for Green Sea Turtles as that is when the are most vulnerable to predation.

Green Sea Turtles reach sexual maturity between 10 and 24 years of age and nesting occurs every 3 - 6 years.

Predators

The main predators of adult Green Sea Turtles are sharks, specifically tiger sharks, and humans. Young Green Sea Turtles are prey to sea birds, crabs, and fish.

Subspecies


There are two subspecies of Green Sea Turtle:

Atlantic Green Sea Turtle
(Chelonia mydas mydas)

Pacific Green Sea Turtle
(Chelonia mydas agassizii)
This subspecies is also known as the black sea turtle, eastern pacific green sea turtle and agassizii green sea turtle.

Interesting Facts

Green Sea Turtles are also known as:
Green Turtle

 


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