400-Pound Sea Turtle With Puncture Wound to Its Head Found on Florida Beach

A dead sea turtle has been found floating off a Florida beach, bleeding from a puncture wound to its head.

The full-grown female green sea turtle, described as being approximately 3-4 feet long and weighing around 400 pounds, was discovered by a visitor to Hollywood Beach on Monday morning, who reported it to the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program.

The turtle was bloated and there were signs of decomposition on its carapace, but its wound was "fresh" and blood was still "dripping from its head," according to a report from Local 10 News, suggesting that the animal had died recently.

It isn't yet clear what killed the turtle, but the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is carrying out a necropsy to determine the cause of death.

Green sea turtles are one of five species of sea turtle that can be found in Florida.

Along with the leatherback, hawksbill, and Kemp's ridley turtle, green sea turtles are listed as endangered. The loggerhead is listed as threatened.

"This makes it illegal to harm, harass, or kill any sea turtles, their eggs, or hatchlings. It is also illegal to import, sell, or transport turtles or their products," the FWC says.

Adult female green sea turtles tend to nest between June and late September in Florida, returning to the same beach every two or three years to lay between three and four clutches, each of which can contain around 128 eggs.

According to the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program's latest figures, 245 green sea turtle nests have been documented on the Broward County coastline this nesting season, along with 2,120 loggerhead nests and 78 leatherback nests.

Sea turtles face numerous threats both on the land and in the water.

Entanglement in fishing nets and other marine debris is one of the main dangers faced by green sea turtles, according to the FWC.

Increased property development on the coastline is also degrading both the standard and the size of nesting sites. This also leads to increased artificial lighting, which can lure hatchlings away from the ocean.

Other threats include litter, pollution, beach furniture, illegal hunting and natural predation.

"The odds against them are tremendous and seeing one this size be gone, it just really rips you up and it's a real reality check," said Emily Robinson, who found the turtle.

She had initially thought that it was nesting, and said that she cried when she realized that it was lifeless.

A green sea turtle in Florida Keys
A stock image shows a green sea turtle, not related to the animal that was discovered off Hollywood Beach. Green sea turtles are endangered, and face numerous threats to their future. Fine Art Photos/iStock