The biggest hard-shelled sea turtle is the green sea turtle. Green turtles can be found all around the world. They breed in about 80 nations and reside along the coasts of over 140 others. Green turtles have been hunted for their fat, flesh, and eggs in the past, resulting in global population decreases. The murder of sea turtles and harvesting their eggs are prohibited in many nations, including the United States. Green turtles are still being killed for their meal or to provide shells to the animal trafficking trade in some regions, which represents a danger to their recovery. Green turtles are threatened by bycatch in recreational and commercial fishing gear, loss of nesting habitat and vessel strikes due to coastal urbanization, and climate change.
Diet and Behavior
Adult green turtles, unlike many other sea turtles, are herbivorous, eating sea grasses & algae. However, young green turtles will eat invertebrates such as jellyfish, crabs and sponges. Most sea turtles warm up by swimming at the top of shallow seas, while the East Pacific green turtle prefers to bask in the sun on land. Among the few marine turtles reported to exit the water rather than lay eggs and are occasionally spotted sunning alongside seals and albatrosses.
Where do they live?
Green turtles can be found in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans and the Mediterranean Sea in tropical and temperate climates. Green turtles can be seen in inshore or nearshore waters throughout Texas to Maine, the US Virgin Islands, including Puerto Rico in the Atlantic & Gulf of Mexico. The Indian River Lagoon, Florida Bay, the Florida Keys, Cedar Key, the Dry Tortugas, Crystal River, Homosassa, and St. Joseph Bay are also important feeding grounds in Florida.
Green turtles have been seen as far south as northern Alaska in the eastern North Pacific, but they are most usually found from California to northern Mexico. Green turtles can also be found in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Territory in the United States Pacific.
Green turtles are found in many nations. Thus collaboration is essential for their conservation and rehabilitation.
Reproduction & Lifespan
Green turtles are long-lived creatures that can live for up to 70 years. Female green turtles achieve sexual maturity between the ages of 25 and 35. Every 2 to 5 years, they make reproductive migration and return to the same beach where they hatched centuries before to lay their eggs.
The breeding season in the U.S started in early spring. On foraging grounds, migratory paths, and nesting beaches, males mate with females. Green turtles lay roughly 110 eggs per nest and will nest every two weeks for several months before returning to their feeding grounds.
After two months of incubation in the hot sand, the eggs hatch, and the larvae work their way to the ocean. Hatchlings orient seaward by crawling towards the brightest horizon, away from the darkest shadow of the landward dunes or vegetation. This will be towards the vast horizon and over the ocean on unspoiled beaches.
Green sea turtles are extinct animals with a 90 percent decline in population over the last 50 years. Changing climate and habitat loss and illnesses like fibro-papilloma are all risks to these creatures. Sea turtle hatchlings are at risk from light pollution at beach-nesting locations, as they may become disoriented and crawl toward the light instead of toward the water. Overhunting of sea turtles & their food, notably used in sea turtle soup, is also a problem.
Green sea turtles are safeguarded by national and state legislation and trade conventions, and the National Marine Fisheries Service of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration monitors their populations regularly. In regions such as the Gulf of Mexico, restoration initiatives are underway to restore and enhance nesting sites.