Green turtles are so named because the fat layer underneath the carapace (shell) is green! The external colour of these turtles ranges from a very dark brown to a light brown mottled colour.
Green turtles and loggerhead turtles cannot be reliably distinguished from one another just by looking at their colour. Rather they can be distinguished from each other by looking at the general body shape (greens are rounder with a flatter lateral profile and a much smoother shell), the shape of the bill (hooked in loggerheads, but not in greens) and, most importantly, the number and arrangements of the central carapace plates and lateral plate rows (5 lateral plates next to central row in loggerheads, and 4 lateral plates in greens).
Adult green turtles feed mainly on seaweed and seagrass and thus can often be seen close inshore, basking at the surface.
Female green turtles lay up to 150 eggs every 12 days or so, totalling approximately 600 eggs per season. Nesting occurs on the islands off Mozambique and other Indian Ocean islands.
On some of these islands, green turtles have been hunted almost to extinction.
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(Photo: Geoff Spiby)
Female lays around 600 eggs per season
Nesting takes place on Indian Ocean islands
Sea turtles are living dinosaurs, having survived some 90 million years from the Age of the Reptiles. Whilst people are fascinated with these ancient creatures because of their link with the distant past and the fact that they have not changed significantly in all these years, turtles are now endangered and threatened with extinction.