When Chirstopher Columbus discovered the New World, there were millions of sea turtles in the Caribbean Sea. Columbus and other explorers, traders, settlers, and pirates who followed him soon found out that one kind of sea turtle had especially tasty meat. This turtle was brown all over, grew to about three feet in lenght, and often weighed some 300 pounds. It grazed in shallow beds of grass, or turtle grass, near the shore. Sailors could easily capture the gentle animal.
They could turn it over onto its back so it was helpless, tie its flippers, and keep it aboard their ships to slaughter when they needed fresh meat. The fat inside this turtle’s body was green from the grass it ate, so it was named the green turtle. It is the only sea turtle that lives only on plants. Today, hundreds of years later, green turtles are still hunted and taken. Fewer and fewer remain.