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The Ocean Reporter's
Sand & Surf
Encyclopedia File

GREEN TURTLE (also called SEA TURTLE/Chelonia Mysas; family Cheloniidae) Sea Turtles live in all warm seas and along the North Atlantic Coasts of the US and Europe during the Summer. It got its name from the green color of its fat. Adult Sea Turtles have a shell length of more than 3 feet and weight of more than 400 pounds. Its shell is smooth and olive green in color blotched with yellow. Its head and flippers are dark brown. They are covered with rough, horny plates, each plate bordered with white or a bright yellow. The underside of the shell covering the chest and abdomen is soft and yielding and cannot support the weight of the animal out of water for long periods of time.

The male Sea Turtle never leaves the sea. The famale leaves it only to lay her eggs. As many as 200 eggs are laid at night in sand above the reach of the sea. The young are hatched by the sun's heat and soon make their way out of the sand to crawl into the sea for food. On the way to the sea, many of the newly hatched young become victims to birds as food. The Turtles are ominivorous, but subsist mainly on marine vegetation. The Sea Turtle is used for food as Turtle Soup and steak. The eggs are also valued as food.

GULL (also called SEA GULL/Laridae; order Charadeiiformes) Gulls are the most recognized birds of the seashore and are commonly called Sea Gulls. Many species nest and feed inland and the rest are stictly coastal. Only the Kittiwakes are truely oceanic during the nonbreeding season. Sea Gulls are found world-wide. They range in size from 11 to 31 inches long from the hooked bill to its tail. They vary in color from the totally white Ivory Gull to those that are pale gray to black on the upper body and white to black on the lower. The heads of many Gulls have black, gray or dark brown hoods during the breeding season. Both sexes are alike in color. The young have mottled brown or gray plumage, taking as long as four years in the larger species to attain develop the definate adult coloration through a progressive series of molts.

They are versatile birds that soar and have agile powered flights. They fish, scavenge, egg predation, catch insects, plow for eathworms and ships for garbage, drop shell fish from a height to break them open and do foot paddling to stir up organisms in shallow water. They breed colonially, mostly on the flat ground of beaches, marshes or riverbeds where they built simple, shallow, grass-lined nests. Their greenish-brown speckeled eggs are laid in clutches of two or three. They take 20 to 30 days to incubate. Parents share incubation of the eggs.  Hatched chicks have down feathers and their eyes are opened. They can stand, but are dependent on their parents for food and warmth. Parents also share in the brooding and feeding of the chicks for six weeks after hatching. Gulls live for 36 years in the wild, but as long as 40 years in captivity.


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