A Wild Loggerhead Turtle Appears Near Čiovo

Katarina Anđelković

loggerhead turtle

August 23, 2023 – A loggerhead turtle settled in Slatine on the island of Čiovo. This strictly protected animal, according to the locals, has so far attacked four people. The turtle was first spotted at Čiovo in early August, when it attacked someone from behind and left a 10-centimeter red mark.

Professor Alen Soldo from the University Department of Marine Studies at the University of Split says that a large number of turtles live in the Adriatic, but in the open sea, so people generally do not notice them. He notes that turtles are not aggressive animals and that they attack only as a warning. As Index writes, it is strange that this turtle frequently comes to the shore.

“If you approach a loggerhead turtle while it’s in its territory, where it’s feeding or breeding, that’s how it’s going to defend itself. In that case, it’s going to headbutt or bite,” Soldo said.

bathers disturbed by increasingly frequent loggerhead turtle attacks

Locals say that after the attack, someone put up posters along the beach warning bathers about the turtle and that swimming is recommended at your own risk. Some visitors were disturbed by increasingly close encounters between the loggerhead turtle and people, as well as the warning posters.

“I’m a little scared, we don’t go to that beach anymore because of the children. We have very nice beaches, so it’s not difficult to go to another place for safety reasons. It’s obvious that we’re bothering the turtles,” said a local woman.

“I was on the beach when a local man saw the turtle while diving around a buoy. He retreated, and it didn’t attack him. I have to admit that I was a little scared that day and didn’t swim anymore. But here I am again at the beach. I have no fear, but I am a little more careful when I’m in the sea,” said a local woman.

“I’ve lived here for years, and this is the first time we’ve encountered loggerhead turtle attacks like this. I’m scared. I don’t know how I would swim with the thought that a turtle might bite me while I’m in the depths,” said another local woman.

“I am not afraid of anything, I believe that it has been there for a long time. The fishermen said that two years ago they saw a large turtle. The animal should not be touched or mistreated, and there should also be no panic,” says a lady who has lived in Slatine for twenty years.


Professor: This is very unusual behavior of the turtle

Loggerhead turtles can grow up to 120 centimeters. Although they have no teeth, their extremely strong jaws can cause scratches and bruises when biting, and even break bones. According to the professor, the greatest danger is caused by a bacterial infection that the turtle can transmit to humans. Coming increasingly close to the shore is not characteristic for this species.

“This is very unusual behavior for a turtle because they tend to stick to deeper areas. The fact the turtle started coming close to the shore and this interaction with swimmers may indicate that there is something wrong with it. It may be sick and disoriented. In any case, this is a very unusual thing .”

Sea turtle bites in the Adriatic are extremely rare, but they do happen. A few years ago, a turtle bit several bathers in Boka Kotorska, and similar attacks were also recorded in Greece.

“I believe that there were attacks here that were not reported. The case in Slatine is specific because several attacks happened in a short time. Although here we need to be quite careful because, apart from the bites, we have no visible evidence of the exact species.”

Bathers Abusing the Turtle

After increasingly frequent turtle attacks on Čiovo, a video appeared in the media showing bathers in the sea abusing a large loggerhead turtle. Individuals thought that this was one of the reasons for the attack. But it seems that the video was not from Čiovo, but on Petrčane beach between Zadar and Nin.

Because of the abuse, which is punishable by law, the Split-Dalmatia Police Department reacted and forwarded the case to the competent administration. Cruelty to an animal is a crime, and the police are still looking for the perpetrators.

Slovenian media warn of turtle attacks – Tourists not worried

Slovenian media also wrote about turtle attacks. They warned their citizens who are on holidays in Slatine. But the tourists were not worried by this news. Slovenians joked that only a shark could drive them off the beach.

“We came for holidays, and we read that a turtle comes to this very beach. We are not afraid, why would we be? If we don’t touch it, I believe it won’t touch us either,” said the Slovenian tourist, and his wife added:

“Animals should be respected. They should not be disturbed.”

Czech tourists were surprised by increasingly frequent turtle attacks. “We didn’t know the turtle was around. So what are we going to do now, has anyone done anything to protect the animal and the bathers?” they wonder.

Professor: There is no need to panic

Professor Soldo believes that there is no room for panic and advises bathers to be more careful while the turtle is in the Slatine area. He assumes that it will leave the area after the change in sea temperature.

“Turtles live in their own environment, in their own sea, so we must be aware that we are entering their home, not the other way aroung. That is the basis of everything. If close contact occurs, it is necessary to move away and not touch the turtle. “


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