Punta Francesa Reef, Interesting Facts for Scuba Divers09/12/2021
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If you have ever been diving in the Caribbean, you probably already suspect that it is part of the green turtle habitat. In this article, we will review some interesting facts about the places where this animal lives.
We call it Greenie, or her, because Greenie is a female turtle. Yes, we know. We are not good at naming. But with this name, we baptize our friend. It is her story.
We visit Tortugas reef from our base in Playa del Carmen at least, 5 times a week. On one of our first dives, almost 25 years ago, we found Greenie in distress. A net trapped our friend, and it was hurting her leg. We helped Greenie to get freedom. However, our green turtle still shows a scar on its leg that helps us recognize it from the rest. If you ever dive Tortugas reef and are lucky enough that Greenie has returned there to spawn, maybe, just maybe, you will see her, and she comes over to say hello.
Green Turtle Habitat, Where Do They Live?
You can find a green turtle almost anywhere in the world as they live along the coasts of more than 140 countries. But, although the habitat of the green turtle is extensive, they do have some characteristics in common. They prefer temperate zones, preferably subtropical and tropical.
The Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans are their oceans. Although we are not going to lie to you, specimens of green turtles have been found south of Alaska.
The green turtle habitat is conditioned by the life of these animals. As good reptiles, they spawn their eggs on land, on the same beach where they were born. This does not imply that they remain there. In fact, their feeding grounds maybe thousands of kilometers away, but they return to the same beach to nest every 2 to 5 years. Throughout its life, a green turtle’s habitat changes 3 times. The first is where they nest, the seconds where they grow up as hatchlings and the third green turtle habitat is where they feed and rest.
As soon as they hatch and manage to survive from the nest to the water, the hatchlings swim out to the open sea and spend 3 to 5 years following the ocean currents. During this time, they are omnivorous and feed on sponges, invertebrates, or crustaceans.
Then, they move back to shallow nearshore areas where they feed and spend their lives. Greenie and her adult conspecifics feed on “salad”. Yes, yes, yes, yes, this is the only herbivorous sea turtle and so it eats seagrasses and algae.
The Green Turtle habitat: Its body’s facts
Many people believe the green turtle name is related to the shell of our friends. However, although its shell may have greenish or olive touches, it is mostly brown, brownish or even black. Do green is the fat underneath.
Their shell does have is an oval shape, four pairs of shields on each side and 5 in the middle that will help you recognize them. You will also distinguish a green turtle from another sea turtle by its rounded head, rounded nose and two large scales located between the eyes.
Green turtles are quite large. They measure 71cm to 1.5 m 3- 4 feet in length and can reach a weight of 68-190 kg, 300 to 350 pounds, although the largest recorded specimen weighed 395 kg 871 pounds.
Threats to Green Turtle Habitat
One of the main threats to green turtle habitat is fishing gear (nets, hooks, longlines, pots, etc.) and plastic and petroleum-based debris (balloons, plastic bags, floating tar or oil).
As happened to Greenie, green turtles get caught in fishing lines and nets. These gears cause injury, weakening and, in many cases, death by drowning. Other times, they may eat plastics, mistaking them for food. Inside the body, the plastic does not degrade and prevents the turtle from extracting the necessary nutrients from the diet, weakening them until they die.
Climate change also poses a threat to the habitat of green turtles. Rising sea levels are causing the loss of beaches where our friends used to nest. If they do make it, storms and flooding can wash away nests. Levees make it difficult for turtles to reach their nesting destination, and the grasses they love become degrade or change in abundance and distribution. Higher temperatures further warm the sand. It can change the percentage of male and female hatchlings, also the migratory seasons.
Other threats to green turtle habitat include:
– egg harvesting, which is still legal in some countries;
– collisions with boats;
– fibromatosis disease. Some experts link this disease to the green turtle’s habitat degradation.
Do you know more interesting things about the green turtle? Share it with us on Facebook! Do you want to come to know the green turtle habitat? Do not hesitate, write us now.