These large turtles can reach up to 500 - 600 pounds and approximately 4
- 6 feet in length. A brownish or greenish color, their carapace is blotched
with green, brown and yellow flecks. Their name comes from the greenish
color of their fat called calipee. These turtles have been hunted for many
years for their tasty flesh and the calipee which is often used in turtle
soup. Although protected by law in the US, green turtle eggs are regularly
harvested for food in many nations throughout the tropics. Their eggs are
considered a delicacy and sometimes used as an aphrodisiac. These practices
have led to a serious decline in their population numbers. Green turtles are
a threatened species in the US with the exception of Florida where they are
endangered. In several Caribbean nations they are farmed regularly for food.
On Long Island, juvenile green turtles can be found entrapped in fishing
gear during the summer and a small number suffer cold stunning each year.
They utilize Long Island's warm shallow bays and Long Island Sound to feed
on crabs, crustaceans and submerged aquatic vegetation such as eel grass.