Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)
The green sea turtle is an herbivorous marine reptile, found throughout tropical and subtropical oceans around the world. This turtle gets its name not from the outside appearance but instead from the colour of its inner fat stores, which are stained green from their diet of mostly seagrass and algae. They can grow up to 1.5m in length and weigh up to 200kg.
Green sea turtles come up onto the beach to lay eggs, and can lay up to 150 eggs per clutch and may lay up to 8 or 9 clutches per season. After 5 to 7 weeks, the eggs will hatch and the hatchlings will swim into the open ocean for 3-5 years before settling into a feeding ground. They will only leave this area to breed and nest, and will nest in the same area (sometimes on the same beach) as they were born. Little is known about how sea turtle navigate, but it has been suggested that they may be able to orient themselves using the earth’s magnetic field.
Unfortunately, sea turtles are highly threatened by human activities such as hunting, boat strikes, entanglement in fishing gear and pollution. One big problem towards sea turtles is the plastic bag, which looks similar to a jellyfish in the water and sea turtles will often ingest plastic bags confusing them for jellyfish. This causes blockages in the turtles’ intestines, leading to starvation and death. In Moreton Bay alone, 40% of the sea turtles that wash up dead have plastic in their stomachs. Please help out our sea turtles, try to say no to plastic bags and use reusable shopping bags instead. Also pick up rubbish wherever you see it, because every bit you pick up could save a turtles life! These photos were both taken at the Tangalooma shipwrecks, where we frequently encounter green sea turtles.”
Eco Ranger Pat