Green Sea Turtle

IUCN Red List Status: Endangered & Decreasing

Fun Facts:
  • Green sea turtles are named for the green layer of fat under their shells.
  • The largest green sea turtle ever found was 5 feet (152cm) in length and weighed 871 pounds (395kg).
  •  Adult green sea turtles are strictly herbivores. Their diet consists mainly of sea grass and algae.
  • Green sea turtles cannot breathe underwater, but can hold their breath for as long as 4-7 hours if they are resting or sleeping.
  • Female green sea turtles will travel thousands of miles every two to four years from their feeding grounds, back to their 'hatching' grounds (the beach where they were born) to mate and lay their eggs.

Not So Fun Facts:

  • The determination of a sea turtle's sex is temperature dependent. As temperatures continue to rise due to the climate crisis, a much higher percentage of sea turtles are being born female than male.
  • 1,000 sea turtles are killed every year by plastic pollution in our oceans.
  • 4,600 turtles are killed every year as bycatch.
  • Green sea turtle populations continue to decline due to human destruction of their beaches and coastlines, as well as due to commercial harvesting of their eggs.

How Can I Help Protect Sea Turtles?

  • When on a beach where there are green sea turtles sleeping or nesting, respect their space. Do not disrupt, take selfies with, touch, grab, poke, or harass them or their eggs. 
  • When in the water with sea turtles or any other type of wild animal, respect their space. Do not swim after, touch, grab, poke, or harrass marine life of any kind.  When in doubt follow the Golden Rule. 
    • If a wild animal wants to get close to you and touches you, that is their choice. So, keep your hands to yourself, swim slowly and quietly, be calm and patient.
    • Embody this mindset and remind others to respect our oceans and marine life if you find yourself in situations where they are not.
  • Remember that every experience you have with a wild animal, no matter the proximity, is an incredible experience that you are privileged to have.
  • If you witness a turtle in distress, entangled, washed up, or dead and you live in the U.S.; use this link to find the right number to call to report it.
  • Make educated choices as a consumer
    • Support companies and brands that do not support the illegal trade of sea turtle eggs.
    • Choose ecotourism trips that do not exploit or endanger marine life.
    • If you choose to eat seafood choose locally sourced and sustainably caught seafood from fisherman who use sustainable and safe fishing gear. The app Seafood Watch can help you make educated choices when you visit your local seafood market. 
    • Sign petitions collecting signatures in support of protecting sea turtle nesting grounds and coastal waters imperative to their survival.
    • VOTE! Elect local, state and federal officials who are going to: 
      • Implement and vote to pass bills and policies that will protect sea turtles and their habitats.
      • Implement both Green and Blue New Deals to protect our environment and combat the climate crisis.
      • Implement bans on single-use plastic.
    • Support local legislation that protects coastal habitats.
    • Support local legislation that protects against unsustainable commercial fishing practices.
    • Use re-usable items instead of disposable plastic ones.
    • Eliminate single-use plastic from your everyday lifestyle.
    • Stop using any kind of inflatable helium balloons - they end up in our oceans and can kill marine life if ingested.
    • Cut up straws, 6-pack can rings, or any bags that could entrap marine life. 
    • Educate yourself about sea turtles, the climate crisis, the plastic crisis, and commercial fishing bycatch.
    • Go out into the world and educate others!

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