Turtle hatchlings in Kissamos

A loggerhead sea turtle nest was reported hatching in Kissamos yesterday.

A mass of tiny tracks was seen early in the morning, a clear indication that many baby turtles emerged from their nest, probably at night time. Almost all of them went straight down towards the sea, while a few were confused by the lights coming from Kissamos and crawled West, parallel to the shore, instead of finding their element.

The nest is in Korfalonas beach, an area with fine sand expanses, little development but unfortunately lots of vehicle driving. As you can see in the picture, a car recently drove a very close distance to the nest. A car or a pick-up truck driving over a turtle nest can kill it. This doesn’t need to happen while the hatchlings are coming out. At any time during incubation, the vehicle weight is simply too much, and the sand will be compacted so hard that the embryos inside can’t get enough oxygen. We have placed a barrier around the nest.

Turtle nest in Kissamos
Turtle nest in Kissamos

This is the second nest that was reported hatching in Kissamos bay. Many turtles have been reported coming to nest on Kissamos beaches during nesting season. There is a great mismatch between the amount of nests potentially laid (about 30) and nests reported hatching. While the season is not over yet, and some hatching might have been missed, it is also very likely that many nests were laid but did not hatch, possibly because of the frequent vehicle traffic on turtles’ favourite nesting area in Korfalonas.

Loggerhead sea turtle eggs are usually laid in batches of over 100 eggs, incubate for a little less than two months buried in sand, and give birth to a mass of baby turtles, with the mother never seeing her babies or even the eggs after laying. The hatchlings then face about 20 years of difficult odds in life before coming back to mate to the same area where they were born. Isn’t turtle life amazing?

Manuel

Greek in spirit. Recently adopted, with whole family, by Kissamos. Sea and nature lover.

2 thoughts on “Turtle hatchlings in Kissamos

  • September 9, 2016 at 6:53 pm
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    Some serious publicity and education needs to happen before next summer, obviously the beach drivers can’t read signs and don’t understand the law either.

    • September 10, 2016 at 9:15 am
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      Good point, Stuart. I wasn’t expecting to completely eliminate the driving problem with the signs. I think that, because of the signs, if they only drive say 50 times on the beach instead of 100 times, that’s an improvement, we have made the problem smaller. I agree that we need to do more, and as you say I also believe that wider publicity and better education are good solutions. For turtle nests, until we have better conditions, we should protect them individually, that’s my idea for the future.

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