Turtles in the Adriatic sea

caretta caretta

One of the oldest terrestrial creatures, turtles belong to the order Testudines. Turtles are reptiles with a hard protective shell called carapace and a flat plate at the bottom. Sea turtles limbs are adapted to life in water: the front ones look like flippers and are used to swim, while the rear ones are wide and are used by the females to dig their nests in the sand. In water they can reach a speed of 8 km/h.

The size of sea turtles can range from just a few centimeters to three meters and they can weigh up to 500 kilograms. The average size of a sea turtle in the Adriatic Sea is about one and a half meter.

In the Mediterranean Sea, there are three of the seven species of sea turtles, but in the Adriatic Sea you can only find the Caretta caretta. This particular species seems to prefer the Adriatic Sea for its relatively shallow, but rich in food waters.

Here are a few curiosities about these animals. Sea turtles breathe through lungs, they require air to survive, and that's why they have to surface. They spend their entire lives at sea, except when adult females come ashore to lay eggs several times per season every 2 to 5 years. They eliminate excess salts that they introduce in their body from sea water, drinking and diet, using the glands that are located in the orbital cavity. Omnivores, but mainly carnivores, sea turtles are one of the few species that can eat jelly fish. Their only predators are sharks and, of course, men.

Sea turtles are now an endangered species, not because they are killed by men for commercial reasons, but as a result of water pollution, of the indiscriminate use of trawls, the increase of boat traffic, and most of all the lack of places where they can reproduce, since most beaches are “invaded” by humans.