Field Guide to Maryland's Turtles (Order Testudines)

Green Seaturtle

Family: Sea Turtles (Cheloniidae and Dermochelyidae)

Common Name:

​Green Seaturtle

Scientific Name:

Chelonia mydas​

Green Seaturtle, i-Stock Image

36-48 inches. Record - 60 inches.

  • An oval to heart-shaped carapace (top shell) that is olive to brown, gray or black.
  • The plastron (bottom shell) is cream to yellowish.
  • Body scales are often edged in yellow.
  • No keel down its smooth carapace, and the rear margin is only slightly serrated.
  • Four costal scutes on each side of the carapace.
  • The first costal scute does not touch the nuchal scute.
  • Only one pair of scales between eyes (vs. two pairs in Atlantic Hawskbill Turtle).


Open ocean, near shore and in coastal bays/estuaries. Most observations in our area are of juveniles near shore, usually in shallow water with an abundance of submerged vegetation. No nesting occurs at our latitude (all is tropical).

How to Find:

An uncommon visitor. Look for them foraging underwater in shallow water areas with abundant seagrasses in the Coastal Bays during the summer months. State and federally listed as Threatened. If you observe or find any individuals please contact DNR’s Wildlife and Heritage Service.

Distribution in Maryland:

Coastal Bays of Worcester County.