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Green Sea Turtle

Green sea turtle

Animal's Behavior

Green Sea Turtles undertake lengthy migrations from feeding sites to nesting grounds. Mating occurs every two to four years and normally takes place in shallow waters close to shore. To nest, females leave the sea and choose an area, often on the same beach used by their mothers, to lay their eggs. They dig a pit in the sand with their flippers, fill it with a clutch of 100 to 200 eggs, cover the pit and return to the sea, leaving the eggs to hatch after about two months. The most dangerous time of a green sea turtle’s life is when it makes the journey from nest to sea. Multiple predators, including crabs and flocks of gulls, prey on hatchlings during this short scamper.

Eating Habits

Unlike most sea turtles, adult green sea turtles are herbivorous, feeding on sea grasses and algae. Juvenile green turtles, however, will also eat invertebrates like crabs, jellyfish and sponges.


Green Sea Turtles are found throughout the Atlantic Ocean as far north as Canada in the Western Atlantic and the British Isles in the east. Their southern range extends past the southern tip of Africa in the east and Argentina in the Western Atlantic. The major nesting sites can be found on various islands in the Caribbean, along the eastern shores of the continental United States, the eastern coast of the South American continent and most notably, on isolated North Atlantic islands.

Conservation Efforts

Many organizations throughout the world have undertaken conservation efforts for the Green Sea Turtle. In the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico regions, conservation initiatives have centered around important nesting beaches and developmental areas of juvenile green turtles. In the United States, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service have rendered the capture or killing of a Green sea turtle a federal offense.

Animal Facts

  • It is named not for the color of its shell, but for the greenish color of its skin.
  • Green Sea Turtles are among the largest sea turtles in the world.
  • Like other sea turtles, the green turtle cannot pull its head into its shell.

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Quick Facts

Scientific Name

Chelonia mydas


Animalia, Chordata, Reptilia, Testudines, Cheloniidae, Chelonia

Place of Birth

Atlantic and the Eastern Pacific Oceans


4 to 6 feet long and up to 700 pounds


The turtles shell varies in shades of olive to brown. The limbs are dark, lined with yellow and usually marked with a large dark brown spot in the center of each appendage. Green sea turtles get their name from the green fat found beneath their shell.


Though the lifespan of a sea turtle is unknown, it is suggested that sea turtles can live up to 80 years

Conservation Status


Where to See

Audubon Aquarium

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