Eggs were laid nearly 2 months ago, on the 25th July and hatched late last night. The last time that a nesting occured at Gnejna Bay dates back to 2012, unfortunately the eggs at the time did not hatch. The last successful hatching occured in 2016 when a turtle laid 66 eggs at Golden Bay, they hatched after 56 days of incubation.
It takes decades for sea turtles to reach sexual maturity. Mature turtles may migrate thousands of miles to reach breeding sites. After mating at sea, adult female sea turtles return to land to lay their eggs. Different species of sea turtles exhibit various levels of philopatry. In the extreme case, females return to the beach where they hatched. This can take place every two to four years in maturity.
Turtle gender depends on sand temperature while the egg is incubating.
The mature nesting female hauls herself onto the beach, nearly always at night, and finds suitable sand in which to create a nest. Using her hind flippers, she digs a circular hole 40 to 50 centimetres deep. After the hole is dug, the female then starts filling the nest with her clutch of soft-shelled eggs. Depending on the species, a typical clutch may contain 50–350 eggs.
After laying, she re-fills the nest with sand, re-sculpting and smoothing the surface, and then camouflaging the nest with vegetation until it is relatively undetectable visually. The whole process takes thirty to sixty minutes. She then returns to the ocean, leaving the eggs untended.
The majority of a sea turtle’s body is protected by its shell. The turtle’s shell is divided into two sections: the carapace (the dorsal portion) and the plastron (the ventral portion). The shell is made up of smaller plates called scutes. The leatherback is the only sea turtle that does not have a hard shell. Instead, it bears a mosaic of bony plates beneath its leathery skin.
Loggerhead Marine Turtles are protected in Malta
Loggerhead turtles are protected in Malta both under local and EU law and a range of other international agreements. Nevertheless, unfortunately, Sea Turtle numbers are on the decline for various reasons. These include Accidental trapping and entanglement in fishermen’s long lines and nets, getting caught on hooks while eating fishing bait (the hooks and lines cause infections that may lead to a cruel death), ingestion of plastics bags, (eaten by Sea Turtles who mistake them for jellyfish), strikes from boat propellers;
Coastal development and destruction of nesting beaches, destruction of feeding habitats such as seagrass meadows as a result of destructive fishing techniques, sedimentation, nutrient runoff from the land, insensitive touristic development and climate change, decline of prey population for similar reasons.