Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tortoises and Turtles

In recent years I have been lucky enough to visit the beautiful Greek island of Lesvos a number of times. Along with the stunning birdlife there is a wealth of other wildlife to enjoy including a good variety of reptile species. Spur-thighed Tortoises are native to the region and I have seen them quite regularly, normally ambling over busy roads quite oblivious to the dangers. I have helped one or two reach the safety of nearby vegetation and on one memorable occasion I rescued a tortoise that had fallen down a small well at Aghios Ioannis a few miles south of Kalloni.
I had been birdwatching in the area when I noticed the poor animal at the bottom of the sheer-sided pit. It had obviously fallen in and was unable to climb out again. It was impossible to say how long it had been trapped there, but there was a trickle of water seeping into the well, which along with some moss growing on the base of the pit  had probably sustained it for some time. I quickly called my son Adam to join me as he had never seen a wild tortoise and he proceeded to film me as I executed the rescue.

This Spur-thighed Tortoise was photographed in southern
Turkey in 2009.

When I visited Olu Deniz in Turkey in 2009 I was amazed to
see the  head of a distant turtle in the famous Blue Lagoon. I
didn't expect to get such close-up views of  fabulous
Loggerhead Turtles in the marina at nearby Fethiye.

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