Green Sea Turtles

Is That Turtle Dead?

No, it’s basking!

Basking is a behavior unique to Hawaiʻi where green sea turtles (“honu”) deliberately crawl out of the water to rest and warm up on the beach. Scientists believe basking has to do with thermal regulation, and may also aid in digestion. What is interesting is that not all Hawaiʻi honu bask on the beach—some also bask by floating at the surface of the water. There’s a correlation between basking behavior and the ocean’s sea surface temperature, which supports the thermo-regulation theory.

NOAA green turtle image

Sea turtles have long been a key part of the cultural and natural resource heritage of Hawaiʻi. Once sought for their meat, Hawaiian green sea turtles suffered a sharp population decline from overharvest in the early 20th century. Today, honu in Hawaiʻi are making a comeback thanks to the support of dedicated community members, plus state and federal protective laws. The turtles still face threats from nesting habitat loss due to sea level rise and storms, fishing nets, disease and boat strikes.

What Can We All Do to Save Sea Turtles?

• The law requires that everyone stay at least 10 feet away from turtles.

• If you’re snorkeling and a turtle rises from below, move away to keep a 10 foot distance.

• Do not try to touch, ride or feed any turtle.

• If you see an injured turtle, report it: (808) 725-5730 (primary) or (808) 286-4377 (after hours)

Learn more from these links:

Sea Turtles & Fish Slideshow

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