Green Sea Turtle

Chelonia mydas

About This Animal

SIZE: 5 ft (153 cm) 452 lbs (205 kg)

RANGE: Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. Warm tropical waters from New England to South Africa and from Western Africa to America

HABITAT: Open ocean and coral reefs

DIET: Herbivorous

ON EXHIBIT:  Secret Reef at Ocean Journey

The green sea turtle is one of seven species of sea turtles worldwide. It gets its name from the greenish color of its flesh and fat. Adult green turtles are unique among sea turtles in that they are herbivorous, feeding primarily on seagrasses and algae. This diet is thought to give them greenish colored fat, from which they take their name. 

The green sea turtle is an endangered species. Their populations have drastically declined in the last 50 years. Their meat and eggs are highly prized and eaten in some countries; they can drown when caught in fishing nets or die after eating trash such as plastic bags that they see as jellyfish. Their numbers are also reduced by boat propeller accidents, fishnet-caused drowning, and the destruction of their nesting grounds by human encroachment.