Turtle Spotting in Seychelles

Written by on 29th September 2023

Turtle Spotting in Seychelles

Observing the hatching of baby turtles or witnessing a turtle laying its eggs is among the most gratifying experiences one can have in Seychelles.

While the populations of these animals have increased significantly since they were protected in the country’s waters almost 15 years ago, they are still considered endangered.  Although the number spotted in the wild has increased, the sightings are usually sporadic and down to pure luck.

Types of Turtles

The two main types of sea turtles that live in Seychelles are the green turtle and the hawksbill turtle.  Both breeds of turtles come ashore at different times of the day.  The best time to spot the hawksbill turtle nesting is during the October to April period. The eggs need to be laid for around eight weeks before the hatchlings can emerge. They usually hatch at night, as they use the stars and the moon to navigate their way to the sea.

An interesting fact is that female sea turtles return to the same nesting grounds where they were born when it’s time for them to lay their own eggs and hatchling’s gender depends on the temperature of the nest. Hotter temperatures produce more females while more males emerge from cooler temperatures. Watching the tiny hatchlings emerge from their sandy nests is a highlight for many visitors, and many resorts run turtle hatching experiences.

We were lucky to spot this turtle on the beach on the south of Mahe, click here to view the video

Swimming with Turtles

If you decide to join a guided tour to swim with turtles , choose a reputable and responsible tour operator. Make sure they follow ethical and sustainable practices to minimize the impact on the turtles and their habitat. If you come across a turtle while swimming maintain a respectful distance from the turtles. It’s essential to avoid disturbing them during their natural behaviors. Keep a minimum of several feet away and never touch or chase them.

When you are snorkeling, make sure to stay on the water’s surface and avoid diving down towards the turtles. Sudden movements or the presence of humans in close proximity can cause stress to the turtles. Do Not Feed the Turtles. Feeding wildlife can disrupt their natural behaviors and diet. Avoid feeding turtles as it can lead to health problems for them and dependency on human food. Remember that the primary goal is to enjoy the presence of these magnificent animals while minimizing any negative impact on their natural behavior and environment. Respect for marine life and their habitats contributes to the overall conservation efforts in Seychelles.

What to do when you see a Turtle on the beach laying eggs

If you come across a sea turtle on the beach laying eggs, it’s important to approach the situation with care and consideration for the well-being of the turtle and its eggs.

Here are some guidelines to follow;

  • Sea turtles are sensitive to light and they can navigate using natural light, and using artificial lights or flash photography can disorient and distress them. This is especially crucial during nighttime nesting.
  • Watch the turtle from a safe distance without disturbing its nesting process. It’s a remarkable and natural behavior, and there should be no interference.
  • Touching the turtle or its eggs is strictly discouraged. Human scent on the eggs could attract predators, and touching the turtle may disturb its nesting process.
  • You should gradually move away from the turtle so that it can’t see behind its shell. This will allow you to avoid frightening the animal.
  • Don’t try to block the turtle’s path as it returns to the ocean. Once it’s finished nesting, the animal will feel exhausted and will want to return to the sea as soon as possible.
  • Do your part to keep the beach clean and free of obstacles. Turtles may face challenges navigating through debris, so removing obstacles can help protect both the turtle and its hatchlings.
  • Be aware of and adhere to any local regulations or guidelines regarding sea turtle nesting. Many beaches have specific rules in place to protect these endangered species.
  • If you’re in an area where sea turtles are monitored, report the nesting activity to local authorities or conservation organizations. They may be conducting research and can ensure that the eggs are properly protected.

Remember that sea turtles are protected species in many places, and interfering with their nesting process is illegal. The goal is to ensure the safety and success of the nesting process while minimizing human impact. If you’re unsure about what to do, contact local authorities or a marine conservation organization for guidance.

The southern portion of Mahé has some of the best nesting grounds for sea turtles in Seychelles.  Sites such as Anse Forbans and Anse Intendance are known for turtle nesting beaches. 

Inside Seychelles is your guide to what’s on in Seychelles, what to do in Seychelles, and where to go in Seychelles



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