The sea turtle Caretta caretta from Zakynthos: The island of Zakynthos, and especially the bay of Laganas, is one of the most important shelters in Greece for the endangered species of Caretta caretta (loggerhead sea turtle).
This unique kind of sea turtle stands out for its red-brown shell and big head and can reach up to 1,20 meters in height and 180 kilos in weight. Such turtles can live up to 70 years. Their diet mainly consists of jellyfish and mollusks, yet due to the large number of plastic bags in the waters, numerous turtles die from ingesting them since they perceive them as jellyfish. That along with the extensive fishing activity and the over-development of beach resorts has led to the reduction of the turtles' population.
The female turtles lay their eggs in particular seashores with dry sand and after 50-75 days of brooding, little turtles come out of their eggs and head to the water. Twenty to thirty years later, these turtles will come back to that same spot where they were born to lay their own eggs.
The National Sea Park of Zakynthos is unique of its kind in the Mediterranean and was founded in 1999 for the protection of the ecosystem and the Caretta caretta turtles. This national park consists of Laganas Bay, the beaches where turtles lay their eggs and a stretch of land that connects Limni Keriou (Keri Lake) and two small islets, Marathonisi and Pelouzo.
About 1,300 nests are created every summer by sea turtles along six beaches on the bay of Laganas. A series of measures have been adopted by the Greek legislation in order to protect the Caretta caretta and the National Marine Park of Zakynthos (Zante) is now well established.