Of the seven species of marine turtles worldwide, Mozambique is home to five species; Green (Chelonia mydas), Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricate), Loggerhead (Caretta caretta), Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) and Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea).
Marine turtles are reptiles and can be uniquely identified by their facial scales. These
marine reptiles have survived 100 million years! In Mozambique, nesting occurs between
November and May and females return regularly to the same nesting where they were
born to lay their eggs. A female can lay between 400 and 800 eggs per season, which
incubate for 5-8 weeks before hatching, but less than one hatchling will survive to
adulthood due to human pressures that are affecting their populations.
The most common turtles in the Tofo area are the Green, Hawksbill and Loggerhead
turtles which are mainly encountered on dives. Occasionally, these can also be seen
breathing at the surface during our Ocean/Bio safaris. Green turtles have variable sizes,
the smallest ones that inhabit local reefs being about 40 cm in shell length. As juveniles
they are omnivorous but as they mature they feed on sea grass and macro - algae,
becoming a fundamental link in marine ecosystems by helping maintain the health of sea
grass beds and coral reefs. Loggerhead turtles are curious and will often come in close
proximity of divers. Their average size is approximately 1 meter in shell length. Hawksbill
turtles are specialist feeders of sea sponges, providing space availability for corals and
algae to settle and colonise.
PLEASE NOTE THAT AN ENCOUNTER WITH MARINE TURTLES CAN NEVER BE GUARANTEED ON A PARTICULAR OCEAN SAFARI OR DIVE!! This is what makes the wild so special; every day is just unique!