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The Pacific Green Sea Turtle
Did you know that all the hatchlings in the nest of the Pacific green sea turtle are either male or female? The sex of the turtles is determined by the temperature of the nest. Cooler nests produce a clutch of males, while warmer nests produce females.
Green sea turtles are agile swimmers, but on land they are cumbersome. Between May and August, female turtles clamber ashore in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to lay their eggs. The eggs incubate for 50 to 60 days. On a clear, moonlit night, the hatchlings dig themselves out of their nests and scramble to the water. Only 2 inches long, the tiny turtles must avoid ghost crabs, sea birds, and fish on their way to the open sea.
Turtle or tortoise? Turtles live in the water. Tortoises live on land.
Have turtles been around forever?
Well, maybe not forever, but turtles are very successful creatures that have been swimming around for the past 200 million years. Fossils of the giant prehistoric turtle, Archelon, have been found in North America. Archelon was 12 feet long, with massive flippers! Today there are about 230 living species of turtles and tortoises.
What is the Hawaiian name for turtle? Hawaiians are astute observers of nature. They recognized many species of plants and animals. The Pacific green sea turtle is called honu, while the Pacific hawksbill sea turtle is called ea or honu'ea.
Resources: Plants and Animals of Hawaii by Susan Scott and The Macmillan Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals by Dougal Dixon, et al. (Ed.).
For more information about green sea turtles and Hawaiian marine life, visit Earthtrust
For information about marine turtles and neat kid's activities, visit Turtle Trax (click on their Table of Contents).
School paper got you down? Need info on wildlife? Visit The Animal Diversity Web
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