Loggerhead Turtle

Caretta Caretta

The border between the sea and the internal marsh next to Dalyan is a long narrow beach called Iztuzu, also known as "the Turtle's Beach". This beach is one of the few remaining locations in the Mediterranean sea that has the right conditions for the Giant Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta Caretta) to reproduce. These giant sea turtles have used this beach as a laying ground since time immemorial, especially in June every year. The females lay their eggs by night in the soft sand, in clutches of about 100/120. They spawn always in the same beach where they were born, therefore it is important to keep the nesting area in good conditions and well protected in order to avoid their extinction. Caretta Caretta's are on the IUCN Red list of Endangered Species.

The baby turtles once out of the eggs after 50/55 days under the sand, move towards the sea at night following the horizon and the moon light reflected in the water. But only a very small percentage, one out of one thousand, can survive since there are many obstacles such as lights coming from restaurants that disorientate them. And once they reach the water there is still danger; predetors will be waiting for them. Since the early 90's the beach is closed to the public from 20:00 to 08:00 hours to protect them. The beach is open during the day but swimmers and sunbathers are asked to exercise special care. Since these creatures have powerful jaw muscles, it's not advisable for people to get near them because they can bite very hard to protect themselves.

The Caretta Caretta turtles can have considerable dimensions with an average of 120/140 kg and measuring 80/100 cm. Despite their dimensions, they're fast swimmers. Meanwhile on mainland they are very slow because of their dimensions, therefore they're very vulnerable on land.