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  • Writer's pictureLaksventures

Turtles in Oman

Updated: Jan 3

We had an amazing and very unique experience in Ras Al Jinz, Oman close to Sur, southeast from Muscat to see the green turtles.

We went to a reserve which was separated from public beaches. After some time walking in complete darkness with a guide and few flashlights, we reached the nesting / hatching spots.

From that point only red light was allowed in order not to disturb the animals. We saw female turtles lying eggs, 100 at a time in a hole which they dig themself with the rear flippers. In order to confuse their predators, which are fox at night, they dig another hole with their front flippers two meter apart from the other which will stay empty. In order to keep the balance while closing the hole behind them they shuffle sand with the opposite legs - one front and one aft leg at the time. The depth of the hole can be up to 1 meter.

The babies hatch after 60 days and the temperature of the sand defines if they will be male or female. If less than 28C, they will be males, above 28C females. If nests are too close to the sea the chance is high that water will destroy the nest. So the farther away the nest is from the sea the higher the chance for females as temperature increases at shore.

Once the babies hatched they quickly run to the see hurrying not to be eaten by their main predictors during day: seagulls.

The turtles will spend their whole life in the water until they are max 40 years old, then they start approaching the beaches to lie the eggs. Nesting season is May onwards for around 6 months.

Being ashore is an enormous effort for them considering they are 1,5 meter big and abt 190 kg heavy. Babies are 10 cm.

Adults has been recorded to swim long distances up to 3000 km to Sri Lanka and

even further up to 4000km in some instances, but always return to their birthplace at some point :)

Turtles are breathing reptiles, they come to the surface every few minutes but can remain under water for 2 hours while resting. Sleeping turtles has been recorded they can stay 5-7 hours without breathing.

Oman in general has five of the world’s seven species of sea turtles: The Green Turtle, found on most Omani beaches and plentiful in Ras Al Hadd, Ras Al Jinz, Masirah Island and Ad Daymaniyat Islands; the Loggerhead Turtle that nests on Masirah Island, the shores of Dhofar and Daymaniyat Islands; the Hawksbill Turtle that nests on the shores of Muscat and Daymaniyat Islands; the Olive Ridley Turtle that nests on Masirah Island; and the Leatherback Turtle which is found in Omani waters but does not nest in the Sultanate.



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