May 23

Chelonia mydas Photo Credit: Clipart.com

Image of the Day

World Turtle Day

The Chelonia mydas, or green sea turtle, is a predominantly vegetarian, marine-faring reptile who is capable of remaining submerged under water for five hours. During such an event, the turtle's heart would slow, with up to nine minutes passing between beats. Usually, though, the turtle's dives last less than five minutes.

Found throughout the world in tropical and subtropical waters, the green sea turtle is on the worldwide endangered species list due mostly to human infringement on its nesting beaches. Pollution, hunting, habitat loss, disease, and fishing nets have also taken their toll on the reptile.

May 23 is World Turtle Day, set aside to raise awareness about the plight of turtles, tortoises, and terrapins. Some of the oldest creatures on earth, they face endangerment due to habitat destruction, the exotic pet trade, and the black-market food industry.

Learn more about some of the 300 species of the Testudines order with these resources from Science NetLinks and other educational organizations:

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