The green sea turtle, also known as the Chelonia mydas, is a large sea turtle that exists in the tropical and the subtropical seas around the world. The breeding colony populations of these turtles, in Florida and the Pacific coast of Mexico, are almost endangered. Since these species are recognized as endangered, it is therefore illegal to harm or kill them. In most cases, they are hunted for their flesh, and at times, it is the polluted waters that harm their population.
- They grow to a size of about 4 feet, and weigh around 200 kilograms. They have a heart-shaped shell with a small head and single-clawed flippers. Their snout is very short. The carapace has 5 central scutes. Scutes are shiny and bony external plates on the shell (carapace) of a turtle. Under this, there are around 4 pairs of infra marginal scutes. The heads of the adult green sea turtle is generally light brown with yellow markings.
- The hatchlings generally have a black or sometimes a dark brown to an olive-shaded carapace. They also have white margins on the shell and limbs.
- They are generally found in shallow waters. They are found in reefs, bays, inlets, and also in close proximity of lagoons. This is because, such areas have an abundance of algae and marine grass.
- These beautiful creatures are known to be very particular about their nesting ground, to the extent that, they often go back to the same feeding and nesting areas the next time round. The nesting generally occurs at 2, 3, or 4 years interval. The first five years of the young ones are spent in deep waters, which is why they are difficult to spot. The eggs hatch after about 40 to 70 days. They hatch during the night, and once the hatchlings emerge from the eggs, they instinctively head out towards the edge of the water. Most of them are not fortunate enough to survive, due to the laws of nature. Such hatchlings are often the meals of gulls and crabs that are known to pick them up immediately.
- Another interesting fact is that unlike other sea turtles, these prefer to crawl onto secluded beaches during the day, since they love to bask in the sun. These species are also known to live up to 80 years in the wild.
- They migrate long distances between their chosen feeding sites. Their mating season is around the months of June to September. The adult turtles return to the same beach where they had been hatched, even if they swim long distances.
- The females can lay 100 to 200 eggs at a time. Once the eggs are laid, she covers the nest with sand and returns to the sea.