3. Mating, Nesting and Resting
The Green Turtles start to breed at around 25 years, and may live to be 100 years old. The main nesting season runs from December until May, peaking around March, when over 100 nests per night may be laid around the island. Virtually no nesting is recorded in the cooler months of the year. Each female will lay approximately 3 - 4 clutches each season, then she will return to Brazil for 3 years to feed and rest returning 3 - 4 years later to nest again. (Pic above J Bingeman, Pic below: J Young)

The male turtles follow the females to the island to mate. A female will mate with more than one male and is able to store sperm.

Resting Turtles.

Between laying successive clutches, females rest near to the shore at a depth of 20 metres, where they are naturally buoyant. (Pics below: J Bingeman)

They surface once every hour to breathe. The usual food for the green turtle is seagrass and algae which are not found in large quantities in the water around Ascension, therefore the turtles will fast during their visit. It has been recorded that females can lose 1Kg in weight per week due to their very low metabolic rate.

Mail Rob and Julia in Ascension Island!
Last revised on the 21st of April 2002 by Stephen Fowler.