Up close with a Green Sea Turtle
Joe Lovotii shares with us this lovely photo of a green sea turtle he took mid-April of 2021 at the Punta Arenas snorkeling site on the western end of the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge.
Joe's picture clearly shows one way to identify the green sea turtle: by the two plates or "prefrontal scales" between the eyes. Hawksbill sea turtles, which are also found in the waters around Vieques, have four prefrontal scales between the eyes.
Adult green sea turtles feed "almost exclusively on seagrasses and marine algae." Sea grass beds are found not only at Punta Arenas, but also along Vieques's north shore to Rompeolas and in south shore bays like Puerto Real (in Esperanza), Sun bay, Media Luna, and the windward side of Cayo la Chiva.
The Vieques NWR is the main nesting area for green sea turtles across the Archipelago of Puerto Rico. Please help keep our beaches clean by packing out what you bring, filling in holes from sand sculptures and no beach fires on the wildlife refuge.
For more information of green sea turtles, check out this USFWS factsheet.