Version française English version

Mayotte > Guide > Best activities > Nature, wildlife and environment > Attend a nesting turtles: where, how?

Attend a nesting turtles: where, how?

La ponte

Many sea turtles - green turtles, and fewer, hawksbill turtles - inhabiting the lagoon of Mayotte. Observed under water - without ever touching and standing at a distance - is exhilarating, to see them respond, with some very precise rules, is moving.

Mayotte is with Mohéli, one of the Indian Ocean where it is really common and therefore easy to see turtles laying eggs. Several beaches are the scene of this act of procreation (including beaches Gwell-or-Gouel Boundrouni and south of Bouéni) but two are particularly prized turtles: the two beaches Moya on Petite-Terre and , south of Grande-Terre, the main beach Saziley (in the hollow of the bundle that forms the peninsula Saziley where is the Maison du Conservatoire du littoral).
Almost every night of the year, the turtles come to spawn. With a peak from March to June, the month of May reaching records. So by going there, you are almost sure to attend one - or more eggs. The figures speak for themselves: during the years 2008, 2168 eggs for the three tracks were recorded by the guards of the Marine Turtle Observatory (OTM). Each turtle lays about a hundred eggs per spawning (depending on the size of the female). Every 2 to 5 years (generally 3 years), the female will return every 10 to 15 days during 2 to 4 months perform a laying on the beach where she herself was born.
A specific example: between 20h and 23h in the night of 4 March 2009, 13 turtles are mounted on the beach II Moya, 11 eggs, 2 turned back toward the ocean could not find the right place to dig their cavity .
Of the three beaches, guards and leaders are there to guide you, you explain. Tell them your
presence and quietly wait for them to come pick you up. The adventure begins! Allow about 3 hours for the tracking and observation of different phases (see below) of lay.

Practical information

    * To go to the beaches of Moya: out of the barge, ask a taxi to accompany. Two solutions: either it is waiting for you while you watch the pundits, it is either you look at a specific time. Rate: between 10 and 15 euro taxi for 2 people. A tip: do not pay a return.

    * To go to the beach Saziley either walk from the faré over Dapani (located in the loop of the CCD 4 - GR path ie Great hiking, white markings and red) or by boat from the village of Mtsamoudou - or Moutsamoudou - (60 euros round trip for the boat regardless of the number of people - 6 people max).

On foot, it's more sports car you need, for an hour, bring your camping equipment. Indeed, the camp is needed because you are far from any village (see story).


    * Wear your dark clothing. Grab a flashlight.

    * Sit at the top of the beach (or on the bottom of the stairs wooden Moya II). Turn off your flashlight. Practice your eyes in the dark and wait until the guards come for you. Speak softly.

The different phases

    * Find the place of laying: Location on the sand tracks of turtles that are climbing up the beach to dig their "nest." This is the sound of sand violently projected that guides you to the exact location of spawning. If, during this research, a turtle is coming out of the water or being hoisted on the beach go very far from it and always behind

    * Widening of the body cavity: with her front flippers, the turtle propels the sand back to dig a large hole. She stops to rest regularly. Do not come too close or the light as it may, by fear, yet give up and continue to dig back into the ocean

    * Digging of wells lay: with its two rear fins that it uses very skillfully as shovels flexible, the turtle will dig a vertical shaft 30 to 40 cm deep. If it falls on a rock or root, it will move to start a little further or give up and return to the ocean. Still remain at a distance

    * Spawning: This is only once the first eggs have fallen - bright white, as big as a golf ball - that can just come and inform the lay shaft. The turtle pond about 120 to 150 eggs

    * Recovery of the pit lay: with its two rear fins recover it first hole laying cup sand, then with four fins recover the cavity. This phase can last over an hour

    * Back to the ocean: the turtle is dragging toward the ocean, stopping regularly. You can follow remaining at a safe distance behind her.