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Green Turtles

Whitsunday Green Turtles
Green turtles are one the largest turtle that visits the Whitsundays. The aboriginals knew that when you cooked a green turtle their fat turned an unusual bright green. This is how the name was derived. A most majestic creature that appears like a alien spacecraft that cruises effortlessly underwater. Small flaps of the powerful flippers propel this ancient creature around the ocean currents. If you are lucky enough to swim with any turtle we guarantee it will leave a lasting impression. A mature green turtle can grow to a carapace length of more than one metre and weigh on average 150kg. The green turtle has green fat, created by its diet of seagrass.

Habitat and distribution
Green turtles occur in seaweed-rich coral reefs and inshore seagrass pastures in tropical and subtropical areas of Australia. Large numbers of greens occur in suitable feeding areas along the south-west coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria. The entire Great Barrier Reef area is an important feeding area for turtles which nest locally, as well as for those which nest in other regions or countries.

Behaviour and life history
Green turtles nesting along the Western Australia coast migrate from feeding grounds in Indonesia, Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia. They make long migrations between feeding grounds and nesting beaches. Migrations recorded from nesting beaches in the southern Great Barrier Reef have exceeded 2600km but the average migration is about 400km.

Nesting
Occurs between late November and January in southern Queensland. It takes a female green turtle 30-40 years to reach maturity. In general, female green turtles lay about 115 round, ping-pong ball sized, parchment-shelled eggs, per clutch. Each nesting season she may return to the beach to nest an average of five times at fortnightly intervals.

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