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Animal Facts

Green Sea Turtle



The Green Sea Turtle is a Chelonian - which means it has four legs and a tough shell made of two parts which join at the sides.

Chelonians also have strong horny mouths with no teeth. There are three types of Chelonians - tortoises live on land, terrapins live in fresh water and turtles live in the sea. They are all part of the reptile family.

There are more than 250 types of turtles - the smallest is the Mud Turtle, which grows to about 4 inches (10cm) long and the largest is the Leatherback, which grows to about 79 inches (200cm). The Green Sea Turtle's legs are shaped like flippers.


Green sea turtles are found in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans. They are sensitive to heat and cold and prefer the warmer parts of the oceans.

 Males never leave the water, but females swim to the shore to lay their eggs


Most of the time, Green Sea Turtles eats plants, but they also eat sea creatures like crayfish and crabs. Other turtles eat meat and the Leatherback Turtle eats jellyfish.

Habits & Biology

Chelonians are cold blooded and have a backbone. Their heads are lizard-like, with a hooked beak and toothless jaw. Their bodies are enclosed in shell for protection.

The top half of the shell is called the carapace. It feels smooth and is grey, green, brown and black. It's tougher than the under shell, which is called the plastron and is yellowish white. Males have a larger tail than females.

The female Green Sea Turtle leaves the sea only to give birth. She swims to the beach, scoops out a shallow hole in the sand with her flippers and lays 70-130 eggs - each one about the size of a ping-pong ball. Afterwards she scrapes the sand back to cover the eggs, then she goes back into the sea.

About two months later the eggs hatch and the young turtles head straight for sea. Somehow they know that they must live in the water and not on land. This is called instinct.

Baby turtles weigh about 1 ounce, and are about 2 inches (5cm) long. Adult Green Sea Turtles may grow up to 39 inches (99cm) long and weigh 397 pounds (180kg).

Turtles live for 70 - 150 years. They have few natural enemies and their tough shells protect them. Their greatest danger is from some people who hunt them for their shell and to eat them.

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