Green Turtle

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Green turtle hatchlings are at a higher risk of predation than adult green sea turtles.

Green turtle hatchlings are at a higher risk of predation than adult green sea turtles.

Eggs are preyed upon by multiple land mammals, reptiles, and crustaceans. Some of these mammals include: jaguars (Panthera onca), red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), feral dogs (Canis lupus familiaris), golden jackals (Canis aureus) and humans (Homo sapiens). Young green sea turtles are also consumed by crabs (Brachyura) and saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porous) which can attack on land or in the water. The only defense mechanism of hatchlings is swarming in large groups toward the ocean.

Once the hatchlings reach the water, they face a new group of predators such as tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier) and whitetip sharks (Carcharhinus longimanus). Evidence of healed shark bites is sometimes witnessed through damaged rear flippers within juveniles, but is not often seen in adults.

Juvenile and mature sea turtles are also preyed on by sharks. Mature green sea turtles’ best form of protection from their predators is their large hard shells. When females come on land to nest, their heads and limbs become vulnerable and easily accessible by predators. Green turtles are also hunted by humans for meat.

Sources: (Alfaro, et al., 2016; Hersh, 2016; Hirth, 1997; Spotila, 2004; Witzel, 1982)
Image: Mikael Krister

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