Loggerhead turtles hatch in Veneto

Loggerhead turtles hatch on north Adriatic coast

By Region Environment News North-east Italy

Loggerhead turtles hatch in Veneto. Eggs laid on a sandy beach in the northern Italy province by a loggerhead sea turtle have hatched. Scientists describe the event as “exceptional”, possibly brought on by global heating.

It was the first time the hatching of Caretta Caretta sea turtle eggs had been recorded along the northern Adriatic coast.

Northern-most nest in the world

On Wednesday, nine sea turtles hatched on the beach in Jesolo. A popular seaside resort close to Venice, the mother had laid 82 eggs, about 25 metres from the sea, overnight on 9 July.

“This is the most northern nesting spot in the world, a truly peculiar geographical location,” Sandro Mazzariol, a professor of veterinary pathology at the University of Padua and coordinator for Cert, an emergency response team for marine animals, told La Repubblica.

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Protected site

In order to protect the nest, a barrier was in place. In addition, volunteers from animal rights groups kept vigil 24 hours per day.

The newborn turtles emerged from their eggs within 10 to 15 minutes of each. They took longer than the expected incubation period of 60 days.

Experts created a protective path of sand that enabled the reptiles to walk towards the sea. “The instinctive walk towards the sea is fundamental for the species because it helps them to memorise where the beach is, allowing the females to return to lay their eggs where they were born,” Diego Cattarossi, the scientific director of the Tropicarium zoological park in Jesolo, told the local newspaper, Il Mattino di Padova.

The turtles weighed between 12 and 14 grams. Their upper shells were about 5cm long.

Why Veneto?

“Tuscany is a common place for nesting, and two years ago it happened in Pesaro [in the central Marche region], and this year in Veneto. We are trying to work out the phenomenon,” added Mazzariol. “The warming sea temperature is one theory. I’m not saying it’s the cause, but it could be one of the factors to explain why this is happening.”

Loggerhead turtle hatchlings make their way to the sea

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