These magnificent sea creatures are an endangered species and happily protected by Greek as well as international law. They are the old men of the Greek sea having populated the Mediterranean for millions of years. They are air-breathing reptiles who spend their lives diving to eat sea plants, crustaceans and fish. They can often hold their breath for up to 30 minutes but all have to come up for air on a regular basis. Unlike their close land relations, the tortoise, the loggerhead sea turtle cannot pull its head and limbs into its shell. They use their front flippers to pull themselves through the water and their back flippers as rudders. The can potential live well into their 70's and around Hydra, can grow to almost a meter in length. Only the females leave the water to lay their eggs in burrows on the same beach that they (the mother) also hatched from.
On Hydra there are no suitable nesting beaches and so we have no ‘Hydriot’ turtles but occasionally, the sea around the island is visited by the expanding population from the Peloponnese coast where there are protected nesting beaches overseen by the Greek Archelon Organisation.
Divers are more likely to come across sea turtles. Please contact the Hydra Divers for more information.
The biggest dangers to sea turtles when they are born is from predators such as gulls who pick off juveniles when they hatch (mainly at night time) when they make their way to the sea. Sadly it is thought that only 1 in 1000 make this perilous journey. Once in the sea, there are very few natural predators for adult sea turtles except for us humans!
Discarded fish nets can trap sea turtles on the seabed preventing the turtle from being able to get to the surface to breathe. Eventually, in spite of being able to hold their breath for so long, a trapped turtle will drown.
Similarly, floating rubbish discarded in the sea (nets, ropes and plastic) can poison or entangle these gorgeous reptiles often causing them to lose limbs, cut their mouths, deform them and if badly entangled will eventually cause a turtle to die of exhaustion even if it could reach the surface.
Damage from passing boats is also a hazard that sea turtles face every time they surface for air.
So if you are out on a boat, keep your eyes open for the wonderful Caretta Caretta so you don’t run it over by accident and please take your rubbish home with you to dispose of responsibly.
Please see: http://fonitisydras.com/latest-news/item/2993-diasosi-thal-helonas-sthn-ydra for more information about this accident.
If you find one in distress (or dead) please phone the Hydra Coastguard (port police) so they can get help from one of the rescue centres. (If you are a sailor, you are more likely than landlubbers to come across a distressed turtle, so please read the first aid notes to make sure you don’t make matters worse in your rescue attempts.)
Hydra Emergency Number: 199
International Emergency & Rescue: 112
1) Local Emergency/Fire Station: +(30) 22980 53199
2) Coastguard (Port Police): +(30) 22980 52279
3) ΑΡΧΕΛΩΝ Σύλλογος για την Προστασία της Θαλάσσιας Χελώνας
ARCHELON Τhe Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece
ΑΡΧΕΛΩΝ Σύλλογος για την Προστασία της Θαλάσσιας Χελώνας, Σολωμού 57 104 32 Αθήνα, Tηλ./Fax: 210 5231 342, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dangers for Caretta
FIRST AID for Sea Turtles