The Green turtle or Green sea turtle, scientifically known as Chelonia mydas, is one of the largest sea turtle. It belongs to the family Cheloniidae. Scientists believe that it is the only species in the genus Chelonia. The name so given to this species is because of the green fat found beneath their carapace or upper shell. Its range extends throughout tropical and subtropical seas around the world, and two distinct populations can be found in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. There are two types of green turtles; the Atlantic green turtle and the Eastern Pacific green turtle. Scientists are currently on debate, whether they are subspecies or separate species. The former is normally found off the shores of Europe and North America and the latter one is found in coastal waters from Alaska to Chile.
The green turtle is a large and heavy sea turtle. It has 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. These turtles weigh up to 700 pounds i.e. 317.5 kilograms. The head is small with respect to the body and is non retractable. The head extends from a heart-shaped carapace and measures up to 5 feet. Males are slightly larger than females and have a longer tail. 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.
Green turtles are listed as an endangered species, and a subpopulation in the Mediterranean is listed as critically endangered. These turtles 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.