Explore - Sea Turtles
Sea turtles have been swimming in our seas for over two hundred million years. They are close relatives of tortoises, having evolved by changing the limbs for walking on land into flippers, and by changing their shape to be more hydrodynamic. All sea turtles are considered endangered species and are therefore protected by national and international laws. Sadly, they still face many anthropogenic risks. There are seven species of sea turtles, but only three inhabit the Mediterranean: The leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) is considered rare because it prefers deep water and feeds exclusively on jellyfish. It reaches 2 meters in length and are easily identifiable by their carapace, which is covered by a very thick skin. Then there is the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas). These herbivores regularly frequent the Mediterranean. They can exceed one meter in length, and are recognized by the greenish brown color of the carapace. Finally, there is the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), common in the waters of the Mediterranean. It can reach a meter in length, is omnivorous, and has a reddish-brown carapace.
Caretta caretta - the symbol of Lampedusa - is as mysterious as all other sea turtles. Little is known, except that they spend their entire lives at sea. The only contact with the terrestrial world is when they surface to breathe and occasionally when the females return to their beach of origin to nest and lay eggs. The diet of caretta caretta consists of fish, crabs, mollusks, sponges, and jellyfish. They travel thousands and thousands of kilometers, and have an innate sense of their native shores and breeding spots - another mysterious and beautiful characteristic of all sea turtles.