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Green Sea Turtle

© written by Tasha Guenther

Green Sea turtle

"Green Sea Turtle"; used with permission under CC BY 2.0

The Green Sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) is probably the most famously known turtle! Like other sea turtles (such as the Flatback and Olive Ridley), the Green sea turtle cannot withdraw its head and limbs into its shell (carapace). The Green sea turtle is a part of the sea turtle family, Cheloniidae.

Another interesting characteristic of these turtles comes from how they got their name: under their carapace is a fatty green tissue! It is this colour thanks to the Green sea turtle's diet of seagrass and algae!

 

Green Sea turtle being cleaned

Photographer, Peter Liu; used with permission under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Because the Green sea turtle is always found swimming in the ocean water, it often gets dirty with algae, and other underwater plant species, and needs to be cleaned (see left)! These turtles are some of the most graceful swimmers. Their large fin-shaped limbs give them great gliding power in the water! Of course, sea turtles still need to breath air and so the Green sea turtle, when busy and active, needs to come up to the surface for air every few minutes!

Green sea turtles are usually brown, gray, black, olive, and/or dark yellow in colour (often, colours vary from turtle to turtle). Some can be spotted with colours or black and white. Some can be striped! Their plastron (underside) is usually cream or light yellow. Each Green sea turtle is very unique - just like us humans!

Green Sea turtle swimming

Photographer, Steve Dunleavy; used with permission under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

These turtles can live to be over 100 years old! They are also very large by adulthood, growing up to 92 cm and weighing over 300 pounds!

They live in mostly tropical and subtropical waters and enjoy shallow, sunny environments.