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Plate Number: II 38

Of the different Kinds of Sea-Tortoise, with their Properties in general

Sea-Tortoise Plate Number: II 38

The Sea-Tortoise is by our Sailors vulgarly called Turtle, whereof there re four distinct kinds: The green Turtle, the Hawks-bill, the Logger- head Turtle and the Trunk Turtle. They are all eatable, but the green Turtle is that which all the maritime Inhabitants in America, that live between the Tropicks, subsist much upon. They much excell the other kinds of Turtle, and are in great Esteem for the wholesome and agreeable Food they afford.

All Sorts of Turtle except the Loggerhead Turtle are timorous and make little Resistance when taken, but in Time of Coition all the kinds are very furious and regardless of Danger: The male Copulates by the help of two Horns or Claws under his fore-Fins, by which he holds and clings to the fleshy Part of the Neck of the Female: They usually continue in Copulation above 14 Days: They have four Legs, which are of much greater Use to them as Fins to swim with, than as Legs to walk with, which they do awkwardly and with slow Pace. They never go on Shoar but to lay their Eggs, which is in April; they then crawl up from the Sea above the flowing of high Water, and dig a Hole above two Feet deep in the Sand, into which they drop in one Night above an hundred Eggs, at which Time they are so intent on Natures Work that they regard none that approach them, but wilt drop their Eggs into a Hat if held under them, but if they are disturbed before they begin to lay, they will forsake the Place and seek another. They lay their Eggs at three, and sometimes at four different Times, there being fourteen Days between every Time, so that they hatch and creep from their Holes into the Sea at different Times also: When they have laid their Complement of Eggs they fill the hole with Sand, and leave them to be hatched by the Heat of the Sun, which is usually performed in about three Weeks.

Testudo marina viridis: The green Turtle

There are great Plenty of this Kind of Turtle amongst the Bahama-Islands, yet none breed there, they come from Cuba and the Continent. Their Eggs, which differ much, and are plainly distinguishable from those of the other Kinds, being never found there; whereas most of these Islands do plentifully abound with the Eggs of the others. This Kind is preferred to the Rest, and is esteemed a very Wholsome and delicious Food: It receives its Name from the Fat of it being of a green Colour. Sir Hans Sloane has informed us in his Natural History of Jamaica, that 40 Sloops are employed by the Inhabitants of Port Royal in Jamaica for the catching them: Their Markets are supplyed with Turtle as ours in England are with Butchers Meat. The Bahamians carry many of them to Carolina where they turn to good Account, not because that plentiful Country wants provision, but they are esteemed there as a rarity, and for the Delicacy of their Flesh. They feed on a Kind of Grass growing at the Bottom of the Sea commonly called Turtle Grass.

Alga marina, graminea anguistissima folio

This Plant grows in shallow Water; several grassy narrow Blades shoot from a stringy fibrose Socket, Socket, which arises from the Root, fixed at the Bottom of the Sea.

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