Green Sea Turtle

The Green Sea Turtle, Chelonia mydas, is a large sea turtle. Its distribution extends throughout tropical, subtropical and some warmer temperate waters. In the Atlantic, they are found off the coast of Florida and around the U.S. Virgin Islands and Costa Rica. In the Pacific, they are found from the Hawaiian Islands all the way to Midway. Other subspecies of the Green Sea turtle extend all over southern climatic waters.

The Green Sea Turtle grows to 39 to 59 inches in length, and can weigh up to 440 pounds. The shell is feeble, having just one keel. The snout is very short, with unhooked jaws. The horny sheaths of the upper jaw have a thin edge and striated inner surface, those of the lower jaw have a stronger edge. The species has one pair of prefrontal shields. Limbs have usually a single claw, the second digit is sometimes provided with a distinct claw in young specimens. The young are dark brown or olive above, the limbs are margined with yellow. They are yellowish beneath, with a large dark brown spot on the hand and foot. The shell of the adult is olive or brown, spotted or marbled with yellowish coloration.

Females lay their eggs on traditional nesting beaches, and they often bask in the sand to warm their exothermic bodies, but otherwise this species is entirely marine. Incubation lasts 60 days after which the young hatch and dig their way to the surface and proceed to the ocean. Many young lose their lives before reaching the water due to predators or nearby lights that attract them away from the water, where they usually get run over by traffic.

The green sea turtle was so named because of the green color of its body fat. The adult turtle’s algae diet is responsible for the color in its tissues