Green Turtle

Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean

Scientific classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Reptilia
  • Order: Testudines
  • Suborder: Cryptodira
  • Clade: Americhelydia
  • Family: Cheloniidae
  • Genus: Chelonia
  • Species: C. mydas

The Green Turtle is one of the most impressive sea turtles of today, weighing up to an incredible 317.5kg and reaching up to 5ft in length, this species can exceed 80 years of age, often outliving most humans. Inhabiting tropical and subtropical waters, the weighty reptile has gained its name for its green colouring, though surprisingly this colouring is found on the animal’s skin rather than its shell.

Like that of other sea turtle species, the Green Turtle is very migratory. In fact, young hatchlings take to the water very early, shortly after leaving their nests. Naturally, they are excellent swimmers with large flippers which enable them to swim with ease. Differing from other sea turtle species, the Green Turtle’s diet is herbivorous. This species feeds on sea algae and seagrasses and plays an extremely vital role in the wellbeing of the sea beds. The Green Turtle is the only known sea turtle species that leaves the water and moves to the shore to warm itself, other sea turtles only move onto the shores solely during nesting periods.

Unfortunately, like many other species, the Green Turtle is classified as endangered. This animal faces many threats, with the largest threat on the list being human interference with the animal and its habitat. Like many other beautiful sea creatures, too often it finds itself caught up in trawl nets intended for shrimp fishing. Unable to breathe, the sea turtle sadly drowns as a result. The Green Turtle is regularly hunted illegally and many of its eggs are snatched before being able to hatch on the shores. As apprehensive animals, constant coastal development is a problematic issue, as many Green Turtles feel too threatened to lay their eggs on the shores during nesting periods, discouraging reproduction.

Despite all the threats the Green Turtle is facing, it is possible to help this species escape extinction. Through conservation efforts which include protecting this species habitat, reducing fisheries bycatch and with a positive attitude, our help can save the Green Turtle.

Estimated Green Turtle nesting females between the years of 2000 and 2016 in Florida

The graph above indicates the number of nesting females in Florida per year from 2000 to 2016. As seen from the data, the number of nesting females has drastically increased from an estimated 6,680 females in 2000 to that of 28,000 females in 2016.

The graph above indicates that the nesting females per year tend to fluctuate, and that there is no steady trend, however over the past two years, 2015 and 2016, the nesting females have on average hit 27,500 females. The data shows a promising future for the species, as numbers are expected to continue to grow in Florida.

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