Slow, but exotic! Just a few words, but enough to immediately understand that we are talking about turtles. And while basic information about these animals should not be emphasized, did you know that there are only seven species of sea turtles in the world? Even better is the fact that you can see three of the seven species during a cruise on the Adriatic.
SEA TURTLES AROUND LASTOVO
Lastovo, one of the most isolated Croatian islands, hides many beauties in its surroundings. Its undersea is a particularly magical story. There are many coves, shoals, sea reefs, and hidden passages. So, if you decide to pass around this beautiful island during your nautical trip, there is a high probability that you will see a sea turtle.
Sea turtles are one of the oldest living organisms on Earth. But, apart from being beautiful, they also play an important role in the ecosystem. The best example of this is the green turtle, which feeds on sea grass and algae and thus provides optimal conditions for the development of this important ecological community and all the animal species that live in it. And around Lastovo you can see the loggerhead turtle and the green turtle.
LONG-LIVED SEA INHABITANTS
Although sea turtles spend most of their time under the sea, they come to the surface to breathe air. At these moments, you can experience meeting these animals that have been living in the seas for over 110 million years. Of course, if you decide to dive, you will be able to see sea turtles cruising freely in the sea.
Did you know that depending on the species, sea turtles can be carnivores, herbivores, or omnivores? For example, green turtles, which are the only species of herbivorous sea turtles, have serrated jaws that allow them to easily tear sea grass and algae. On the other hand, loggerhead turtles have developed strong, hard jaws adapted to breaking the hard shells of crabs and shellfish.
THE INTERESTING LIFE OF SEA TURTLE
Sea turtles have no teeth at all. For this reason, we call their mouth “a beak”. Their jaws are extremely strong, enough to break the hard shells of crabs and shellfish - that's why they don't chew food, they just swallow it.
Another fascinating thing about sea turtles is their sense of smell. Thanks to it, sea turtles can smell the beach where they will nest. They “sniff” by opening their mouths and gently sucking in water through their noses, and then spitting it out through their mouths.
The biggest enemies of sea turtles in the Adriatic are gill nets and bottom trawls. Often the captured turtles are in a state of "winter sleep", i.e. hibernation, and then it is necessary to revive the turtle first before returning to the sea. If this is not done, the turtle may drown. In some countries, in order to reduce by-catch, TED devices (Turtle Excluder Device) are used - they represent a "window" through which a turtle caught in the net can exit, while the rest of the catch remains in it.
This summer, while you are sailing in Croatia, keep your eyes wide open - maybe a sea turtle will appear right next to you.