Green turtles à Nosy Be

Green turtle in Nosy Be

The green turtle owes its name to the color of its fat. Its shell is olive brown, mottled with yellow. It is recognizable by its large rounded head, its blunt beak and the two large prefrontal scales between its eyes.

The adult male is recognized by its long tail, which protrudes 30 cm from the carapace.

Green turtles live year round around Nosy Be, either in feeding places (Nosy Sakatia) or in breeding areas (Nosy Iranja). It is therefore possible to see them all year round on all our excursions.
Green turtles are large turtles, which can reach 1.5 meters and weigh up to 300 kilos! Its head is large and represents approximately 20% of the surface of the carapace.
Jusqu’au stade juvénile, sûrement pour s’assurer une croissance la plus rapide possible, cette tortue est essentiellement carnivore, elle consomme des petits invertébrés et des œufs de poissons. Puis, elle se nourrit presque exclusivement de plantes des herbiers marins. C’est ce régime alimentaire qui est supposé donner une couleur verdâtre à sa chair. Leur régime alimentaire herbivore distingue les individus de cette espèce, en danger d’extinction, des autres tortues marines.

Traveling thousands of kilometers each year, green turtles always come back to lay eggs on the beach where they were born, it seems guided by magnetic fields. The females hoist themselves up at night on the beach to dig a basin 2 m wide and 1 m deep in the sand where they deposit hundreds of eggs. They go back to the water before sunrise after carefully filling the whole. They start again a dozen times a season, but only lay eggs every 2 or 3 years.

The young turtles emerge from the nest all together and head immediately to the sea. It should be noted that the survival rate is low: 1 baby turtle in 1000 reaches adulthood (20 years). They are in fact the prey of birds, crabs and fish, whether on the sand or in the water.

Sexual maturity is reached between 8 and 15 years old, and scientists estimate that green turtles can live up to almost 100 years!