Green sea turtles have been estimated to be around for billions of years. The oldest fossil has been dated back to the times when the dinosaurs were around! Yes, this means that these creatures have been around with the dinosaurs.
Does this fact make your little one want to know more about these amazing creatures? If that is the case, we have compiled a list of 11 amazing green sea turtle facts for kids.
These creatures lead an almost nomadic lifestyle, traveling thousands of miles across their feeding and nesting areas.
11 Interesting & Fun Facts about Green Sea Turtles for Kids
Green sea turtles, when born can be really small. But once they grow, they become big enough to hold the title of the largest hard-shell sea turtle!
With that introduction out of the way, let us dig into the interesting facts about the green sea turtles.
1. Green sea turtles can hold their breath for a really long time
Green sea turtles spend a lot of time underwater. In fact, they only go on the land to lay eggs. As a result, it should not be a surprise that these creatures are able to stay underwater for a really long time.
Green sea turtles are known to hold their breath underwater for hours at a time. The longest is that they can hold their breath is believed to be 7 hours! They do this by lowering their heartbeat and slowing their metabolism.
The temperature of the water is also a key factor when it comes to these creatures holding their breath. Since they are cold-blooded animals, the cooler the water, the longer they can stay submerged.
2. Green sea turtles are the largest of the hard-shell sea turtles
When the green sea turtles are born, they are no bigger than two inches long. However, do not let that fool you. These creatures will grow to about five feet in length and can easily weigh about 700 pounds.
This makes the green sea turtles the largest of the hard-shell sea turtles in the world!
3. These turtles cannot retract their head inside their shell
It is rather common knowledge that tortoises and turtles are able to protect themselves from any sort of threat or predator by retracting their heads and limbs inside their shells.
However, there are some species of turtles that are not able to do that. Despite the common misconception that green sea turtles can retract their heads inside their shells, they actually cannot do that.
Another species of turtle that are unable to do the same is the snapping turtle. In case you want to know more about them, you can read our article on the same here- 11 Amazing Snapping Turtle Facts for Kids.
4. Green sea turtles can be somewhat irresponsible parents
In case you are wondering why we are of the opinion that green sea turtles are irresponsible parents, keep reading.
As we have mentioned in a previous fact that green sea turtles only come upon the land when they lay eggs. They lay about 100 to 200 eggs in a pit and leave them there to hatch for two whole months!
When the baby turtles hatch, they have to make their way to the water, avoiding all sorts of predators on the way like crabs and birds. That is an extremely risky way of taking care of babies that are just born!
5. Their diet changes significantly as they grow
Now, this is a very interesting fact about green sea turtles. They, as juveniles mainly eat carnivores and feed on the meat of jellyfish and crabs.
But as they reach adulthood, they slowly turn herbivores. This means that they mainly survive on underwater plants, fungi, and algae.
6. Green sea turtles travel long distances
Throughout their lifetime, green sea turtles tend to travel really long distances. In some cases, it has been seen that certain individuals travel across ocean basins.
These creatures move from their nesting areas to feeding areas and are found all over the tropical and subtropical waters. They use the earth’s magnetic field as a map to navigate their way through the waters. They have been recorded to travel over 2600 kilometers!
7. They have an unusual layer of fat in their body
Ever wondered why green sea turtles are called that? Well, as it turns out, these turtles have a green layer of fat that is present under their shells.
According to scientists, this is the result of the turtle’s unusual diet. As we have already mentioned in a previous fact, green sea turtles are majorly herbivores.
8. Green sea turtles are important in the ecosystem
Due to their food habits, green sea turtles help in maintaining the seagrass beds and keep them healthy. This is because, these creatures keep feeding on seagrass, and it makes the seagrass grow faster (kind of like mowing lawn).
The nutrients are digested and are available as recycled nutrients in the sea which help the ecosystem of the ocean.
9. Green sea turtles are the only sea turtles that come to shore regularly
When it comes to sea turtles, not a lot of them come to the shore. However, that is not the case for green sea turtles. They are the only species of sea turtles that regularly come to the shore to bask under the sea. Much like humans, looks like these creatures too, like to sunbathe.
10. It is relatively easy to recognize green sea turtles
When you take a look at a green sea turtle, it is easy to recognize them. Green sea turtles have a single pair of prefrontal scales. These are scales in front of their eyes. But other sea turtles have two pairs of prefrontal scales.
11. These creatures are unfortunately endangered
Green sea turtles are unfortunately in a lot of danger. They have suffered for decades due to hunting, pollution of the beaches, and over-harvesting of their eggs.
Fishing also is a major reason for danger as often; green sea turtles are caught in the fishing nets. They have been classified as endangered.
Also want to know about some other turtle species, read these articles:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Green sea turtles are so-called because they have a layer of green fat under their shell. This is a result of the creatures’ veggie diet.
As juveniles, green sea turtles feed on crabs and jellyfish. However, as they grow older, they completely change their diet to seagrass, algae, and any sort of greens underwater.
Green sea turtles can get as big as 5 feet in length and can weigh as much as 700 pounds.
The scientific name of the green sea turtle is Chelonia mydas.
Baby green sea turtles are called hatchlings.
Baby sea turtles start out by eating jellyfish, small crabs but later change their diet to greens under the water.
Yes, green sea turtles are primarily herbivores.
Green sea turtles are found in tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans.
Green sea turtles can hold their breath underwater for as long as 7 hours.
Green sea turtles can live up to 50 to 70 years.
Yes, green sea turtles do migrate and travel thousands of miles.
Green sea turtles can swim at a speed of 35 miles per hour.
Yes, unfortunately, green sea turtles are indeed endangered.
As newborns, the hatchlings of green sea turtles have a lot of danger from crabs, birds, and dogs. As adults, they face danger from sharks.
Green sea turtles have strong and hard shells. Those shells help them evade danger. Additionally, they are extremely good swimmers and are able to flee from danger.
Green sea turtles are important in maintaining the seagrass of the ocean. Seagrass grows faster when they are nibbled on. Additionally, the digested food is recycled and available in the ocean which provides nutrients to the surrounding life.
That is it, folks. You have come to the end of the article ‘11 Amazing Green Sea Turtle Facts for Kids.’ Hopefully, you and your little one had a great time learning about these fascinating creatures.
These sea turtles are unfortunately endangered. In case you want to do anything to help preserve them, there are a number of organizations where you can donate or be a part of. Have a beautiful day ahead!