Green Sea Turtles

Conservation Status

Endangered with a population estimated between 85,000 and 90,000 nesting females.


Green Sea Turtles can be found in tropical and subtropical waters worldwide. They prefer shallow waters near coral reefs, seagrass beds, and mangrove swamps, where they can find plenty of food and shelter.

These turtles migrate long distances between their feeding and nesting grounds, sometimes travelling thousands of miles. The nesting beaches are usually sandy in the tropics, where the females lay their eggs.

The giant green sea turtles are found on the Great Barrier Reef, and it is standard for visitors to see them daily.

Depending on their stage of life, green sea turtles roam between three different habitat types.  On the sand, they lay their eggs.  Most of their time is spent in shallow coastal waters with abundant seagrass beds by mature turtles.  The green sea Turtle lives in warm tropical and subtropical waters worldwide.  Ocean temperatures below 7 to 10 degrees Celsius are the environmental factor restricting turtles’ dispersal.  The green sea turtles typically stay close to the island and continental shores within their range.  They inhabit shallow bays and safe shorelines close to the coasts.

Most of a Turtle’s first five years are spent in convergence zones in the open, barren water surrounding them.  Due to their tendency to swim in deep, pelagic waters, these baby turtles are rarely seen.  Usually, green sea turtles swim at 2.5 to 3 km/h.


Adults grow to 1.5 metres long and weigh between 68-190 kilograms.


Green turtles are the largest of all hard-shelled sea turtles but have comparatively small heads.   They have teardrop-shaped dark brown, grey, or olive-coloured shells and a much lighter, yellow-to-white underside.  Green sea turtles have large paddle-like flippers.


The Great Barrier Reef has two genetically separate populations, one north and one south, off Australia’s northeastern and northern shores.  Twenty distinct areas of tiny islands and cays were found to be nesting sites inside the Reef.  On Raine Island, the most significant of these is located.  On Bramble Cay in the Torres Strait, there is a sizable rookery.  There are important breeding places in the Coral Sea.


As they get older, green turtles’ diets shift.  Young animals consume meat, but as they become older, they become omnivorous.  Young sea turtles consume molluscs, jellyfish, small invertebrates, worms, sponges, algae, crustaceans, and fish eggs.  In addition to feeding them red, brown, and green algae, coral reefs shield marine life from predators and violent storms.  Sea turtles have plenty of habitats thanks to the grass and algae that grow in salt marshes and seagrass beds.

The Green Sea Turtle, also known as Chelonia mydas, is one of the largest sea turtles in the world, reaching up to 5 feet in length and weighing over 400 pounds. These magnificent creatures have been swimming in our oceans for over 100 million years, but sadly, they are now considered endangered.



Unfortunately, the Green Sea Turtle faces several threats contributing to its endangered status. Some of the main threats include:

  • Habitat loss: The destruction of coral reefs, seagrass beds, and mangrove swamps has greatly reduced the suitable habitat for these turtles.
  • Pollution: Plastic pollution, oil spills, and other types of pollution can harm or kill these turtles directly or indirectly.
  • Hunting: Green Sea Turtles are hunted for their meat, eggs, and shells in many parts of the world, despite being protected by law in most countries.
  • Fishing gear: Green Sea Turtles can become entangled in fishing nets or caught on hooks, which can injure or kill them.

What can you do to help?

There are many ways you can help protect the Green Sea Turtle and other endangered species, including:

  • Reducing your use of plastic: Avoid using single-use plastic items and recycle as much as possible to reduce the amount of plastic pollution in the ocean.
  • Supporting conservation efforts: Many organizations are working to protect and conserve Green Sea Turtles and their habitats. Consider donating to or volunteering with one of these organizations.
  • Being a responsible beachgoer: Following local guidelines and regulations to protect nesting sites and avoid disturbing these turtles.
  • Eating sustainably: Avoid consuming seafood caught using destructive fishing methods that harm marine wildlife, including Green Sea Turtles.


Q: Why are Green Sea Turtles important?

A: Green Sea Turtles play an important role in maintaining the health of marine ecosystems. As herbivores, they help control the growth of seagrasses and algae, which can overtake and smother other marine life. Their nests also provide an important source of nutrients for other animals, such as crabs and birds.



Q: How can I tell the difference between a male and female Green Sea Turtle?

A: It cannot be easy to distinguish between male and female Green Sea Turtles just by looking at them. However, male turtles tend to have longer and thicker tails than females, which is used to help them mate. Females also tend to be larger than males, especially regarding their body width and weight.



Q: How long do Green Sea Turtles live?

A: Green Sea Turtles can live for several decades in the wild, with some individuals living up to 80 years or more.


Unfortunately, the Green Sea Turtle is a fascinating and important species that faces numerous threats to its survival. However, there are many ways that we can help protect these turtles and their habitats, from reducing our use of plastic to supporting conservation efforts.

By working together, we can ensure that these magnificent creatures continue to swim in our oceans for generations to come.