With seven extant (still in existence) species, these marine reptiles are some of the most adored sea creatures around.
Green Sea Turtles are the second largest sea turtle species and the largest hard shelled sea turtle. On average they weigh 400 lbs (180 kg) and measure 5 ft (1.5 m) in length. Leatherback sea turtles are the largest species, but do not have a hard shell – hence the name “leatherback”.
There are two Green Sea Turtle subspecies – the Atlantic green sea turtle and the Pacific green sea turtle. Green sea turtles are not named for their overall color, which ranges from dark green to brown to black, but for the color of their fat under their shell. In Hawai’i, the beloved green sea turtles are known as “honu”.
Unlike other sea turtles, green turtles are mainly herbivorous – eating sea grasses and algae. However, as juveniles, they’ll eat invertebrates like crabs and jellyfish.
The average lifespan for sea turtles is 80 years and it may take around 10-50 years for them to reach reproductive maturity.
Female sea turtles return to the beach they were hatched on to lay their eggs. There may be around 100 eggs in a single clutch. The temperature of the nest determines the gender of the hatchlings. If the eggs incubate below 81.86° F (27.7° C), the hatchlings will be male, above 87.8° F (31° C) and the hatchlings will be female. The gender of adult sea turtles can often be easily determined as males have longer and thicker tails than females.