Pacific Green Turtle of Costa Rica

Conservation status: Endangered

Habitat: subtropical and tropical waters, often found in small lagoons on in the open ocean of the Pacific or Atlantic waters. One of the most important nesting grounds for the Carribean population is Tortugero in Costa Rica.

Weight: 68-190kg (150-419lb)

Length: 1.5m (5ft)

Physical appearance: the fat found beneath the shell tends to be green, and the teardrop shaped carapace can range in colour from olive green to black and may change its tone over time. It has a short neck and a beaked head, and a claw on each front flipper.

Diet: young turtles eat fish eggs, molluscs, small invertibrates, algae and crustacenas; adults eat seagrass and algae

Predators: hatchlings and juveniles are prey to crabs, small marine mammals and shorebirds. Only large sharks hunt adult turtles.

Threats: Fishing nets, habitat loss due to real estate development, poachers continually threaten the pacific green population.  The turtles are also affected by fibropapilloma, which is a virus transmitted to the turtles through leeches. It produces tumours all over the body and is fatal.

Mating: Males mate every year, whereas females mate every 2-4 years, and often return to the same beach from which they hatched. The gestation period is 50-70 days.

Lifespan: Estimates suggest that green sea turtles take 20-50 years to reach sexual maturity, and that they live up to 80 years.


Pacific Green Turtle of the Osa Peninsula