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Loggerhead Turtles

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The loggerhead turtle feeds on crustaceans, sea grass and fish innards.They are opportunists and therefore can often be found early morning along argostoli waterfront, awaiting an easy feed whilst the fishermen empty their nets.

There appears to be a resident population of turtles in the Argostoli lagoon, as we have spotted turtles there many times.The photos included here were all taken between September and October 2003.

From June to August the Loggerhead visits beaches of the Mediterranean to nest. The female turtle comes ashore at night, digs her nest and lays about 100 soft shelled eggs, which look similar to ping pong balls. The eggs are then covered with sand and left to hatch.


The nests are about 45 cm deep. The eggs must remain undisturbed in the warm sand for about 55 or so days before hatching. If the temperature goes above 28 degrees C the eggs will hatch as females, below this temperature males will hatch. Although females lay thousands of eggs each summer, very few hatchlings survive to adulthood. ( 1 in 1000 ? )


Together, the hatchlings dig their way out of the nest. Usually emerging at night, the group makes its way down the beach and enters the sea. This race to the sea is important for the hatchlings' biological cycle.

Mounda Beach is considered to be the most valuable area of coastline on kefalonia,for the nesting of the loggerhead turtle,although there are recorded nestings on thirteen of Kefalonia's beaches, along the western and southern shores, from the Skala area right up to Agios Kiriaki at the top of the Lixouri Peninsula.

 

 

Katekios group for the Research andProtection of marine and teresrial life

Each summer volunteers based in and around Katelios monitor the beaches and record Turtle emergences and nesting.


The centre of Mounda beach is used as the starting point; for beach patrols, as turtle emergences are rare in this area due to the rocky outcrop just offshore, and it splits the beach into halves of similar distance (the western end, 'Kaminia' and the eastern end, 'Potamakia'). The beach is monitored between 21.00hrs and 07:00hrs during the adult season. A total of approximately 1400 hours (138 nights) monitoring time is put in by the project volunteers throughout a season.

Volunteers are divided into 3 groups (depending on numbers). One group remains in the centre to meet any late visitors to the beach and to continue the patrols should a turtle be found by another group. The other volunteers patrol to the ends of the beach, walking quickly, quietly, and without torches at the waters edge, checking both seaward and for tracks. Volunteers wait for 20 minutes on arrival at the end of the beach, and then patrol back to the middle. The beach is patrolled fully every 25 minutes. The final run takes place around dawn, when any nests were thoroughly marked. This method strikes a balance between over-patrolling which may deter any potential nesting females from coming ashore, and under-patrolling whereby data may be missed.

To view more of the turtles please view the turtle gallery.

Many thanks to Shauny for his patience and determination to see and photograph these beautiful creatures.