Sea Turtles around the Maltese Islands
Even though we do not have sea turtles at our Aquarium, Malta has a wide variety of marine life that you can spot during your time here.
One particular form of reptile that lives in the Maltese waters are sea turtles. The climate and the Mediterranean Sea is a perfect habitat for these creatures and there are various species you can see in Malta. Some species are endangered as nesting sites become threatened.
Even though sea turtles are declining in numbers due to a variety of reasons – plastic pollution being one – they are still a fairly common site when into the open sea. So, what sea turtles can you find in Malta, where about in the archipelago can you find them and what makes sea turtles so special?
What Sea Turtles Can You Find in Malta?
Sea turtles have been around for millions of years. In fact, they have survived through many different time periods of the earth’s history. There are 7 species of sea turtles found around the world and 5 of these can be seen in Malta.
- The Loggerhead turtle
- Leatherback turtle
- Kemp’s Ridley
- Green turtle
The Loggerhead and Green Turtle are the only 2 that have been known to nest in the region, as well the Loggerhead being more commonly spotted around the Maltese Islands.
Even though there are 5 species of sea turtles that can been seen around the Maltese coast, where do you go if you want to view them?
Spotting a sea turtle
One method that many locals and visitors use to spot sea turtles in Malta is snorkelling. It is quite hard to spot one but you might be lucky. Especially if a sea turtle re-surfaces for air.
The most popular locations for snorkelling where people have spotted these turtles are Golden Bay, Hondoq ir-Rummien which is found in Gozo, Paradise Bay, Gnejna, Siggiewi’s Ghar Lapsi, St. Paul’s Bay and finally Comino’s Blue Lagoon which is located towards the north of the island.
Interesting facts about sea turtles
Not only are sea turtles pretty cool to look at, they are interesting creatures as well.
Apart from the fact that they have been around for about 150 million years and have outlived countless species (including dinosaurs!), they are one of the most fascinating reptiles in the world. Female sea turtles will return to the same nesting grounds that they were born and given how long they can live this can be 30 years later! Sea turtles may lay several clutches of eggs during the nesting season by digging a nest under the sand. Depending on the species, a typical clutch may contain 50-350 eggs.
Some species of turtle, the green sea turtle particularly can hold their breath for 5 hours when resting underwater. Unfortunately, the odds for a baby sea turtle to make it to adulthood are just 1 in every 1000.
Even though 6 of the 7 species of sea turtle are classed as critical endangered, sea turtles are some of the most resilient creatures on our planet. Plastic pollution is one of the dangers that may cause extinction of these reptiles. Turtles serve a vital ecological purpose and the mediterranean needs these species to continue to thrive. In Malta, it is of satisfaction that female sea turtles are coming to shore to lay there eggs in recent years.
If you spot a sea turtle in distress or on the shore please contact Nature Trust Emergency line on +356 99999505.