10 Amazing Green Sea Turtle Facts
1.Green sea turtles live very long lives. It takes somewhere between 20 & 50 years to reach sexual maturity and a healthy individual can expect to live up to 100 years or more!
2.Warmer temperatures produce females and cooler temperatures produce males, so adults need to lay their eggs when the temperature is just right to produce both male and female hatchlings.
3.The breeding season occurs in late spring and early summer. The males arrive in off-shore waters first and wait for the females to come to the beaches. Adult males can breed every year, but females only breed every 3-4 years.
4.Most females return to the same beach each time they are ready to nest. Not only do they appear on the same beach, they often emerge within a few hundred yards of where they last nested!
5.Courtship and mating for most sea turtles are believed to occur during a short period prior to the female’s first nesting. Afterwards, only females come ashore to nest; males almost never return to land once they leave the sand of their natal beach. During mating season, males may court a female by nuzzling her head or by gently biting the back of her neck and rear flippers. If the female does not flee, the male attaches himself to the back of the female’s shell by gripping her top shell with claws in his front flippers. He then folds his long tail under her shell to copulate.
6.As is the case with most other species, males will mate with any female they can. But female sea turtles aren’t very choosy either, in that they don’t seem to actively seek out the best, fittest males.
7.Male and female sea turtles have cloaca — waste and reproductive orifices — at the base of their tails, and the male’s cloaca houses his penis. During mating, the male will reach his tail underneath the back end of the female’s shell. His long penis, which can be almost half the length of his shell, will emerge from his cloaca to penetrate and inseminate the female’s cloaca.
The male hangs on for dear life for up to 24 hours. By remaining attached to the female, the male can prevent other males from mating with her. But his competition doesn’t take this injustice lightly — they bite his tail and flippers repeatedly to try to get him to let go.
8.A few weeks after mating, a female green sea turtle arrives on the beach and digs a hole in the ground for her eggs. Inside the hole, she lays 75 – 200 eggs and then covers the hole with sand. At this point, her role is complete and she leaves her eggs to fend for themselves. A female green sea turtle can lay several clutches of eggs before she leaves the nesting grounds.
9.After approximately two months, the eggs hatch and the hatchlings make their way to the water. The newly hatched green sea turtles are very susceptible to predators, exposure and losing their way. Birds, mammals and other predators love feasting on the young turtles. One of the greatest threats to hatchlings is light pollution near beach nesting sites. The light from buildings and homes confuses the young turtles so that they crawl towards the light and not the ocean.
10.In the open ocean, sea turtles encounter strong currents; they have only modest vision, they can only raise their heads several inches out of the water, and there are often no visible landmarks. Even with these limitations, sea turtles regularly navigate long distances to find the same tiny stretch of nesting beach. How they do it is one of the greatest mysteries in the animal kingdom, and finding an answer has been the focus of generations of researchers. One promising new theory on how sea turtles navigate suggests that they can detect both the angle and intensity of the earth’s magnetic field. Using these two characteristics, a sea turtle may be able to determine its latitude and longitude, enabling it to navigate virtually anywhere.
Warning: The video below is not intended for turtles under the age of 18. Parental guidance is suggested:-)