GREEN SEA TURTLE
Chelonia mydas

Habitat: Typically found in shallow coastal waters, estuaries and lagoons. Green sea turtles also are seen in the open ocean.

Average adult size: Adults can grow to be 4 feet long and 400 pounds. The largest green sea turtle weighed 650 pounds.

Natural history: "Green" sea turtles are called that because their meat is green, not their shell. Some green sea turtle populations migrate almost 1,500 miles from nesting to feeding grounds. The total population of Green sea turtles may be less than 500,000. Greens swim with powerful beats of their wing-like front flippers. Sea turtles can see well underwater, but are nearsighted out of the water. Green sea turtles can stay underwater for an amazing five hours without a breath of air. Their heart rate slows way down and nine minutes may elapse between heartbeats. Greens have finely serrated jaws adapted for eating algae and sea grasses. The female sea turtle comes ashore at night to lay eggs. She digs holes to deposit about 100 ping pong ball-shaped eggs. The egg shells are soft so when they fall into the hole they don't break. Scientists think sea turtles live to be between 15 and 30 years, and may live to be more than 50 years old.

Range: In tropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans.


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