Green Turtle

Green Turtle

G is for Green Turtle

The green turtle is one of 3 varieties of sea turtles (green, hawksbill, and loggerhead) that nest in Belize. The green sea turtle is the largest hard-shelled sea turtle, reaching 39 inches in length and 330 pounds in weight. The underneath of green turtles is a yellowish white color while the upper shell is usually varying shades of black, brown, gray and green in irregular patterns and shapes. This turtle is rated threatened to endangered in different parts of the world. Turtles appear to glide along propelled by their flippers, but they can swim very fast when threatened. Turtles appear to have incredible navigational abilities, traveling between feeding sites and nesting sites that may be hundreds of miles apart.

Green turtles are found along the coast and sea, most frequently in the area between the coast and the barrier reef. They can be seen feeding in sea grass beds and resting along the coral reef.

These turtles feed on sea grass and algae.

Turtles live their life in the sea, but they return to sandy beaches to lay their eggs during particular months of the year. As air-breathing reptiles covered with impermeable skin, sea turtles are one of the few marine species that are suited for terrestrial life. It is the shelled egg that demands that the turtle's nest be laid on land; if the eggs were laid in water, the air-breathing embryo would drown. Mating between the male and female takes place in the water off of the nesting beaches; little is known about the rituals of this process. Females then come onto land for the nesting process, an event that requires incredible exertion. After a long journey to land, the female sea turtle makes a long trek up the beach to lay her eggs. She chooses a well¬protected area, above the high tide line, and begins the arduous process of digging the nest. She will lay up to 100 eggs or more that will incubate for 30-60 days before hatchlings emerge and make the treacherous trip down the beach to the sea. Both the turtle nests and the young turtles are highly susceptible to the environment and predators.

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