Sunday, September 23

The Green Turtles


THE GREEN TURTLE
Green Turtle Profiles.
Local name
Penyu Agar, Penyu Pulau

Shell length
90 - 110 centimetre

Weight
110 - 180 kilogramme

Colour
Olive-brown to green or black

Food
Mainly sea grass and seaweeds (adult)

Type
Reptile

Diet
Herbivore

Average lifespan in the wild
Over 80 years

The green turtle is the largest of the Cheloniidae family and are easily distinguished from other sea turtles because they have a single pair of scales in front of their eyes rather than two pairs as the other species. Diets of green turtles change significantly during its life. At less than eight inches long, green turtles eat worms, young crustaceans, aquatic insects, grasses and algae. Once green turtles reach eight to ten inches in length, they eat mostly sea grass and algae; the only sea turtle species that is strictly herbivorous as an adult.
Green turtles nest every three or more years. An average of three to five egg clutches are laid approximately twelve days between each nesting. Each clutch contains an average of 115 eggs, which requires an approximately 60 day incubation period. The green turtle can be found on tropical coasts and islands, and is the most widely distributed sea turtle species in Malaysia. In Peninsular Malaysia, major nesting sites include Perhentian and Redang Islands off Terengganu, and mainland beaches of Terengganu at Penarik, Kemaman and Kertih.
They can also be found nesting in Pahang (Chendor and Cherating) and Perak (Pantai Remis). In East Malaysia, the green turtle nesting sites are on the shores of Sarawak Turtle Islands, the Turtle Islands in Sabah and Sipadan Island.
The green turtle is a large, weighty sea turtle with a wide, smooth carapace, or shell. It inhabits tropical and subtropical coastal waters around the world and has been observed clambering onto land to sunbathe.It is named not for the color of its shell, which is normally brown or olive depending on its habitat, but for the greenish color of its skin.
There are two types of green turtles—scientists are currently debating whether they are subspecies or separate species—including the Atlantic green turtle, normally found off the shores of Europe and North America, and the Eastern Pacific green turtle, which has been found in coastal waters from Alaska to Chile.Weighing up to 700 pounds (317.5 kilograms) green turtles are among the largest sea turtles in the world. Their proportionally small head, which is nonretractable, extends from a heart-shaped carapace that measures up to 5 feet (1.5 meters). Males are slightly larger than females and have a longer tail. Both have flippers that resemble paddles, which make them powerful and graceful swimmers.
Unlike most sea turtles, adult green turtles are herbivorous, feeding on sea grasses and algae. Juvenile green turtles, however, will also eat invertebrates like crabs, jellyfish, and sponges.While most sea turtles warm themselves by swimming close to the surface of shallow waters, the Eastern Pacific green turtle will take to land to bask in the sun. Occasionally seen sunbathing alongside seals and albatrosses, it is one of the few marine turtles known to leave the water other than at nesting times.
Green turtles, like other sea turtles, undertake lengthy migrations from feeding sites to nesting grounds, normally on sandy beaches. Mating occurs every two to four years and normally takes place in shallow waters close to the shore. To nest, females leave the sea and choose an area, often on the same beach used by their mothers, to lay their eggs. They dig a pit in the sand with their flippers, fill it with a clutch of 100 to 200 eggs, cover the pit and return to the sea, leaving the eggs to hatch after about two months. The most dangerous time of a green turtle’s life is when it makes the journey from nest to sea. Multiple predators, including crabs and flocks of gulls, voraciously prey on hatchlings during this short scamper.
Green turtles are listed as an endangered species, and a subpopulation in the Mediterranean is listed as critically endangered. Despite this, they are still killed for their meat and eggs. Their numbers are also reduced by boat propeller accidents, fishnet-caused drowning, and the destruction of their nesting grounds by human encroachment.

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