Go Diving and Swimming With Green Sea Turtles

12th September 2017   |   Mario Passoni

Green sea turtles are marine reptiles that inhabit our oceans. You can dive or snorkel with them while they are feeding on underwater plants or when they come up to the surface to take a breath.

We have selected some fascinating curiosities to help you better appreciated these incredible animals. Enjoy!

Green Sea Turtle

Chelonia mydas

After leatherback turtles, green sea turtles are the largest sea turtles on the planet. The carapace reaches a length of 4.5 ft (140 cm) and can weigh up to 520 lbs (235 kg). The head is small compared to the body, and the plastron is white or yellowish (this is highly variable and is related to diet). The flippers also have a fingernail.

Green sea turtles live in all tropical and subtropical waters of the world. The most important nesting sites are located in Tortuguero (Costa Rica), Oman, Florida, and Raine Island (Australia). Two subspecies of green sea turtle can be found in the Galapagos Islands and Hawaii.

Green turtle

Green Sea Turtle Facts

  • Name: Green sea turtles get their name from a greenish colored fat that is present in their meat.
  • Diet: They are predominantly herbivorous, preferring seagrass beds or algae. Occasionally they can feed on animals such as jellyfish, and due to the their low protein diet, they grow more slowly than other species.
  • Migration: Green sea turtles perform long migrations (thousands of miles) in adulthood, moving from foraging areas (where they normally reside and feed) to breeding and nesting areas.
  • Reproduction: Sexual maturity is reached at around 20 to 40 years old, varying from region to region (26-34 years in Florida, 40 or more in Australia). Mating usually takes place near the site of deposition, but it sometimes occurs in the open sea. Males and females come together thanks to the release of special hormones that guide the sea turtle to a partner.
  • Eyesight: Green sea turtles have very poor eyesight out of the water. It can be compared to human eyesight underwater when we open our eyes without a mask.
  • Threats: For green sea turtles, there are a plethora of man-made threats, including entanglement in fishing gear, plastic and marine debris, ocean pollution, coastal development, global warming, as well as poaching and illegal trade of eggs. Part of the population is affected by Fibropapilloma (FP) disease that causes tumors in the eyes, mouth, soft-skin areas and internal organs.
  • Current population trend: Decreasing.
  • Status: Endangered.

Q&A About Green Sea Turtle

Where can I go diving and swimming with green sea turtles?

For just this question, we have created a list of the best 10 places where to dive and swim with sea turtles!

Do sea turtles have a predator?

Yes, while sea turtles are still in their eggs, crabs enjoy digging in with their claws. While scurrying from their nest to the sea, they can be eaten by crabs, birds and other animals. As juveniles, sea turtles might be consumed by fish in the water. Once the turtles reach adulthood, only sharks and killer whales pose a threat.

How long can a green sea turtle hold its breath?

It depends. If eating or swimming, green sea turtles can hold their breath up to 30 minutes. If they are resting, these fun animals can hold it for more than 4 hours!

Will a green sea turtle nest more than once a year?

A female lays eggs 1 to 9 times per season (3 on average) at intervals of one or two weeks, every 3 years. Altogether, sea turtles nest in more than 80 countries.

How many eggs do they deposit into one nest?

The number of eggs laid ranges from 1 to 230. They look like ping-pong balls.

How long does it take for green sea turtle eggs to hatch?

The eggs hatch after 6 weeks, but this period can vary depending on the average temperature of the nest.

How can I see a green sea turtle nesting or the babies heading to the ocean?

You have to go through serious, eco-friendly operators. Check our top 10 list for more info.

How long do green sea turtles live?

Their lifespan is about 80 to 100 years.

Sea Turtle Saviours

Fortunately, there are several groups of experts who have founded associations which protect these animals through research, education, training and habitat protection.

For further information take a look at: Hepca, Sea Turtle Conservancy, Olive Ridley Project, See Turtles, Sea Turtle Inc., Sea Turtle Preservation Society and The Leatherback Trust.


Special thanks to Agnese Mancini from Hepca and Alessandra Sulis.


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