the

Meet the Green Sea Turtle!

hey everyone N and I are on vacation we

are on the lovely island of Grand Cayman

which is home to the world-famous Cayman

turtle Center the green sea turtle is a

large tropical species of turtle that

grows to around 3 feet in diameter on

average although some individuals have

been recorded up to 5 feet in diameter

due to their large size adults can weigh

upwards of 300 pounds although some of

those five footers have been recorded to

weigh over 600 pounds

these guys are massive and you can only

imagine how much food they go through

they are also a very long-lived species

of turtle those that survive into

adulthood can live upwards of 80 years

or more this is one of the green sea

turtles that became in turtle center and

these days grow incredibly fast believe

it or not it's only a year old unfold so

they grow very quickly to become out of

predator

I guess prey for most predators and once

they get to around the size it's not

nearly as many animals will eat them

their shells are just gorgeous though

look at their shell it's so smooth and

these are strong animals too I was not

expecting it to be so dense it's

probably a good 15 20 pounds

behind me is the breeding pond here at

the caiman turtle center this is where

all of the adults are kept and ordered

for breeding purposes the green sea

turtle will breed at around 16 to 25

years old and after that the breeding of

the reproduction rate really starts to

go down drastically but it takes them

upwards of 16 years in order to become

fully mature in breeding age the

breeding season for these magnificent

Turtles is from June through September

during which time they will lay three to

seven clutches of eggs each clutch

containing between 100 and 120

golf-ball-sized eggs what the females do

is at night they will crawl on to shore

and dig into their preferred nesting

site they'll kind of choose what area

they think will work best sometimes they

choose better than others and they will

dig down about 3 feet using their back

flippers and that's where they will

deposit their eggs and kind of use their

back flippers to kick the sand over them

and cover them up and this entire

process often takes all night before

they are finally empty and able to go

back into the water here at the center

the morning after those eggs are laid

since they're monitored so closely here

the staff will dig up and carefully

remove those deposited eggs and put them

into their indoor incubator you see in

the wild the since they're buried 3 feet

underground the babies the first ones to

come out will dig to the surface and

they push more sand onto the nests

behind them as they emerge which

sometimes trap some of those babies and

then they die before they can even come

out of the sand between that and all the

predators they face as babies and having

to find food in the wild only about 1%

of baby's green sea turtles make it to

full adulthood

whereas here at the facility they can

take care of them in a controlled

environment and not only do they

increase their survival rate to about 80

to 95 percent but they can also control

which ones are males and which ones are

females based on the temperature they're

incubated at with sea turtles or green

sea turtles if the eggs are incubated

above 82 degrees they end up being

females if they're incubated below 82

degrees they end up being males here at

the facility they want about 50 50 s so

they incubate them all at about 82

degrees

the center is so successful at hatching

and raising green sea turtles they have

actually released over 35,000

individuals back into the wild since

they opened once the eggs are laid they

are immediately collected and then

brought into incubation at this hatchery

so I think we should go inside and see

what babies are in there and maybe we'll

even get to see some eggs too

who knows well we are inside of the

hatchery unfortunately we just missed

the tail end of green sea turtle

breeding season so there are no eggs or

babies at this time of year however

there's a mock up and you can kind of

see this is actually the hatching room

so this is an heated room that they

store all of the eggs in until they

hatch hatching is really interesting

since the eggs are laid upwards of 30

inches below the sand it can take

upwards of a week for the babies to

crawl all the way out during that time

their umbilical cord dries up and closes

off so inside of this room they're

buried under only about 3 to 4 inches of

sand so the babies come out really

quickly compared to what they would in a

wild and as a result they sometimes

still have a little bit of that

umbilical cord still remaining even

after they're out of the sand once the

babies are out they are closely

monitored until they are ready for the

water and then they're moved to baby

tanks inside and it takes a couple of

months before they are brought outside

into that door facilities what we did

find inside of the hatchery though was

an adult sea turtle shell there's no way

I'd be able to hold an actual sea turtle

if it was an adult so I'm just gonna

have to do with the show but just like

all turtles they're back vertebrae are

fused to their rib bones which are

modified ribs that can actually create

the shell itself so really needs to see

that it's tough to hit solids here feel

that this is heavy just the shell alone

right wait a minute we I know it's

surprised me too when I first picked it

up once the green turtles reach about

two months old they're moved from the

indoor facility into these outdoor

holding pools to grow up a little bit

more in here we have a little two month

old green sea turtle now these guys are

very active and surprisingly scratching

under their chin actually calms them

down the green sea turtle is a herbivore

so they eat primarily plant matter in

the form of algae in the wild

but believe it or not different species

of sea turtles have different native

diets these are the herbivores and

there's others that are more carnivorous

like the longer head sea turtles but

this little guy I'll put him back and I

think there's one a little bit bigger

over here Wow look at the red coloration

of this one that one is just gorgeous

this one's a little bit closer to about

five or six months old I would imagine

and the green sea turtles have these

little thumbs on their front flippers

they have a spur up here and on the back

they also have a spur on their flippers

back here now the sea turtles unlike our

North American species of turtles that

actually have webbed feet and

distinctive toes and that helps them

come out onto land to bask in the Sun

sea turtles have evolved in our built

for a life purely in the water they stay

in the water their entire life after

they emerge from the eggs unless they

are laying their eggs that's really the

only time they come out onto the sand

and to lay those eggs and then they

return right back to the water

we found one more look at this adorable

little guy he just must have just

recently been moved out to this outdoor

enclosure tuffet or one there this

scoots don't overlap on their shelf so

they are incredibly smooth on their

carapace which is the upper portion of

their shelf the lower portion is called

the plastron everything is covered in

scoots which are these individual scales

that are all over their shelf sexy sea

turtles is very similar to sexing other

species of turtles and tortoises

basically males have longer tails than

females if you look at this one's tail

it's very long which indicates that it

is a male and if you look at the one

over here it has a very short tail so

this is a female males also have more

pronounced spurs on their front flippers

all right guys do you see what this is

look what we found this is a bite mark

something took a little chomp out of

this Ranger out of this leaf here and I

suspect it's probably a certain lizard

that's taking over Grand Cayman right

now they're very invasive the green

iguana if you look there's more bite

marks they see that you're they're very

prolific so they breed a lot and since

there's so many individuals on the

island they are eating like all of their

plants and eating the food sources of

the native caiman iguana which is now

endangered because of that but where is

not only does the caiman turtle Center

have green sea turtles which is what

they specialize in but they also have a

small greeting group of Kemp's ridley

sea turtles this is a smaller species of

sea turtle only reaching about two to

two-and-a-half feet in diameter of their

size so these are adults males they are

the most endangered sea turtle in the

entire world but the caiman turtle

Center was the first facility to

successfully breed them in captivity and

they were so successful that back in

1999 they sent a hundred and ten captive

bred babies back into the wild in Mexico

where they are native to this is one of

the carnivorous species of sea turtle

they come Friendly's have a very strong

jaw that allows them to crunch the

shells of crabs and clams mussels snails

other invertebrates and mussels and they

particularly love actually a Saki bodied

animal to squid that's what they're

being fed right now along with sardines

they're fed three times a day here at

the facility but it looks like they

really like the squid to the point where

they go around and eat all of that first

and then they clean up the sardine

afterwards so this breeding facility is

doing a lot of great conservation work

this is Bendel once you saw that we were

filming he flagged us down to show us

some of the highlights around the park

unfortunately because of the background

noises it was hard to hear the audio so

I'm gonna try my best to interpret what

he's teaching us here we've just been

told that we're gonna be shown the

biggest turtle that is at this facility

so are they still are good guys 1:41

awesome I feel bad taking out of the

water

well after being introduced to these

amazing endangered animals we also got

the opportunity to swim with the green

sea turtles as you can see my hair is

still wet we just came from that but

they're free swimming in this entire

lagoon area and we were able to check

them out and see them up close and

personal so we're going to end today's

video with some of the clips we managed

to take more of Ed's clips than mine

because my phone liked it I guess when

it's underwater freaks out so we'll be

using mostly Ed's clips for those but I

hope you enjoy it and thank you for

joining us today and watching today's

video if you are ever in Grand Cayman we

highly recommend you check out the

caiman turtle Center it is amazing and

it is worth the trip it's just we're

spending all day here thanks again and

we'll see you next week

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another lizard that lives here natively

on Grand Cayman is the curly tailed

lizard you can see how he gets its name

we have a male adult male here he's kind

of head bobbing a little bit and if you

look close you'll see how his tail has a

different textured look to the rest of

his body that indicates that his tail

has regrown so it doesn't look like what

it originally did I'm trying to see how

close I can get to this guy unlike green

iguanas these are insect eaters so

they're actually good to have on the

island they'll eat spiders they eat any

small insect that they can catch of it

basically and they're very very quick so

there's no chance I'm gonna be able to

catch him but I've got to try

he's like putting me back

you wanted to be picked up right now you

have some angry sandpipers - chasing

each other around this so salty

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