Featured Fauna: Green Turtle PDF Print E-mail
Scientific Name: Chelonia mydas
Common Name:

Green Turtle

pawikan (in most Filipino dialects); bildog (Isabela); tabugon (Mindoro); talisayon, magdarait (Bicol); daranawan, pawikan (Samar); anuno, katuan (Palawan); pudno (Tausug, Samal); payukan (Mapun); tortuga (Zamboanga); tuod (Camiguin, Siargao)



Green Turtle by Diuvs De Jesus

This turtle is brown all over, grows to about 125 centimeters and often weighs some 230 kilograms. It is the only sea turtle that lives on plants. The fat inside this turtle’s body is green from vegetation it eats, hence the name.

Aerial Identification
Carapace Nearly oval, somewhat tapering behind
Head Small and rounded
Color Variable color, dorsal scutes may be radially streaked, plain or spotted
At Close Identification
A. Prefrontal scutes One pair
B. Shell
b.1 Carapace scutes Do not overlap
b.2 Lateral scutes Four pairs
b.3 Carapace length (curved) Up to 125 cm.
Weight Up to 230 kg
a. Carapace Light tan, green to almost black
b. Plastron Yellow
Hatchling Color
a. Carapace Grey
b. Plastron White
Infra-marginal pores Absent



Mostly widely distributed species in the country with Turtle Island, Tawi-tawi as a major nesting ground (>1,000 nestings recorded annually). All sub-tropical seas.



Their serrated upper jaw effectively scrapes filamentous algae off hard bottoms, and shears leafy seaweeds and seagrasses. Green turtles have an active gut flora to assist them in breaking down otherwise undigestible vegetative matter.


Conservation Status:

Appendix I in CITES; Endangered in IUCN

Endangered in the Philippine List of Threatened Wildlife Species (DENR DAO 2004-15)