Discover…… Martinique’s Sea Turtles: Meet our locals!

If you go snorkeling in Grande Anse d’Arlet, or many others of Martinique’s beautiful bays, you’ll probablybe lucky
and get to meet one of the most iconic animals of the island: the sea turtle!

There are 7 species of sea turtles in our planet’s oceans. Of these, 5 can be found in the warm waters of
Antilles-Guyana. Here’s how to tell apart the 3 main species you may come across in Martinique!

Sea turtles evolved 110 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period, which means they shared the Earth with the T. rex!

The Green sea turtle
The Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) is by far the most common sea turtle in Martinique. A green sea turtle can weigh 180kg and measuring 110cm long. Although the juveniles are carnivorous (feeding off plankton, shrimp, or sea anemones), the adults are purely herbivorous. You’ll easily find them in the bays, grazing on the seagrass.

Some turtles can hold their breath for up to 5 hours, and dive down to 1000m deep!

the Hawksbill sea turtle
Smaller than the green sea turtle, the Hawksbillsea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate) weighs only 50-75kg for 60-100cm long, and is easily recognizable by its beak which helps it munch on sea sponges.

The Leatherback sea turtle
The Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelyscoriacea) can be mistaken for no other. It is huge – measuring on average 160cm long for 400kg – and its back is covered by a leathery, rubbery skin rather than scutes like the other sea turtles. A more oceanic species, leatherback turtles feed mainly on jellyfish.

Something extra special?
All three species nest on Martinique’s beaches!

Want to know more about these wonderful animals? Head over to Réseau Tortues Marines Martinique to find out more! And click here to learn the best ways to interact responsibly with them 🙂

Martinique’s Sea Turtles