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Tommy the Green Sea Turtle

Tommy TurtleHi, I'm Tommy - a Green Sea Turtle.

I carry my home on my back. Legend says I carry a lot more than my home.

I belong to group of animals called Chelonians. You'll know us because we're the only four legged animal with a shell that's joined at the sides - and we don't have teeth.

We're part of the reptile family - like lizards, alligators and snakes.

There are over 250 types of turtles. Some of us live in water, some on land and some do both. Even our name is confusing. People call us Turtles, Tortoises or Terrapins. Turtles live in the sea, Tortoises live on land and Terrapins live in fresh water.

I weigh 265 pounds (120kg) and I'm almost 39 inches (99cm) from my head to the tip of my tail. Terrapins or "pond tortoises" are smaller. The top and bottom parts of my shell are different, even though they're joined. On top is my carapace. It's grey, green, brown and black - and it's hard. My plastron is underneath - it's yellowish white and softer.

I have a hooked beak which makes my head look a bit like a lizard's head. A Tortoise can hide its head inside its shell when attacked, but turtles can't.

I wish I could.

Although I don't have any teeth , the horny edges of my jaw are very sharp and it will hurt if I bite you. My cousin Snapper the Snapping Turtle is bad tempered and lashes out at things, as fast as a snake. His jaws snap shut and he won't let go.

He eats fish and animals that he catches in the water. I eat mainly plants, but sometimes crabs and crayfish. I've got good eyesight but I don't hear very well. I pick up vibrations in the water through my shell.

I'm male, so I live in the water all the time. My legs are like flippers and they help me swim fast. The only time I've been out of water was when I was born. Female turtles go ashore to lay eggs. Up to one hundred at a time. Baby turtles weigh about 1 ounce (30gms) and are about 2 inches (5cm) long.

So if you see a turtle on the beach, it's not me. I'm the one in the water with the larger tail. I may live to be 150 years old.

See you in the sea


Facts about Green Sea Turtles Facts about Tommy Turtle