Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta ) / Peloponnese
The loggerhead sea turtle ( Caretta - Caretta) is one of seven species of sea turtles worldwide . These wonderful animals spend the biggest part of their life in the water and they can stay under water for nearly 200 minutes. One often sees the turtles swimming on the surface, the so-called Basking (sunbathing). Since they are lung breathers, they come to the water surface for oxygen. During that and because their carapace is exposed to the sun (UV radiation) different harming seaweed is killed. One of the peculiarities of loggerhead turtles is that they lay their eggs always at the same place where they were born. Therefore, it is vitally important for this species during the nesting season (June to August) to protect their nests. In order to lay their eggs the female turtles crawl to the beach, check the temperature of the soil, the distance from the sea and the sand quality to find the best location for their eggs. While they are on the mainland, they are very vulnerable to threats because they can move only very slowly and cannot retreat into their carapace to protect themselves.
Each of the nests contains about 70 to 140 eggs and most of them incubate for about 45 to 55 days.
After the little turtles hatch from their eggs they follow the moonlight reflected on the sea water in order to run to the right direction and to reach the sea. Unfortunately only a small number survives (only 1 in 1,000 baby turtles). The area between Kyparissia and Zacharo is one of the few nesting sites worldwide. During the summer months, numerous nests can be seen on the beach where the organization "Archelon" (Association for the protection of the sea turtle in Greece - was founded in 1983 ) protects them.
Common Name: Loggerhead Sea Turtle
Scientific Name: Caretta caretta
Description: very large head ,strong and heavy jaws. Carapace is heart shaped. Front flippers are short and thick with 2 claws, while the rear flippers can have 2 or 3 claws. Carapace is a reddish-brown with a yellowish-brown plastron. Hatchlings have a dark-brown carapace with flippers pale brown on margins.
Size: Typically 80 to 120 cm
Weight: Adult weigh between 90 and 110 kg
Diet: Primarily carnivorous and feed mostly on shellfish that live on the bottom of the ocean. They eat horseshoe crabs, clams, mussels, and other invertebrates. Their powerful jaw muscles help them to easily crush the shellfish.
Habitat: Prefer to feed in coastal bays and estuaries, as well as in the shallow water along the continental shelves of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.
Nesting: Nest at intervals of 2 to 4 years. They lay 3 to 6 nests per season, approximately 12 to 14 days apart. Lays average of between 100 to 126 eggs in each nest. Eggs incubate for about 60 days.
Speeding: 30 km / h (in water)
Lifespan: 30-60 years
Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece
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