Green Sea Turtles

By Caleb Lawson

The green sea turtle is a large turtle with a wide, smooth shell. It is one of seven species of sea turtles worldwide. Adult green turtles are unique among sea turtles in that they are herbivorous, feeding primarily on seagrasses and algae. It gets its name from the greenish color of its flesh and fat. . It inhabits tropical and subtropical coastal waters around the world. 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 swimmers.

Sea turtles live in almost every ocean basin throughout the world, nesting on tropical and subtropical beaches. They migrate long distances to feed, often crossing entire oceans. They spend their entire lives at sea, except when adult females come ashore to lay eggs several times per season every 2 to 5 years.

These ancient creatures have been on Earth for more than 100 million years — even surviving the dinosaurs when they became extinct 65 million years ago. Among the threats these marine reptiles face are entanglement, habitat loss, and consumption of their eggs and meat.

Sea turtles often drown when caught in fishing gear, both nets and longlines. Coastal development can destroy important nesting sites, impact coral reefs, and artificial light from houses and other buildings attracts hatchlings away from the ocean. Pollution like plastic bags are often mistaken for food such as jellyfish and ingested, which blocks their intestines and potentially kills them. In some countries, they are hunted for their meat and shells and their eggs are eaten.

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