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Turtle, Courtesy Anna Roscoe

Turtle-spotting in Sri Lanka, Asia Blog

Turtle, Courtesy Anna Roscoe

Of the earth’s seven remaining species of sea turtles, five make appearances on the southern shores of Sri Lanka, namely the Olive Ridley, Leatherback, Hawksbill, Loggerhead and Green Turtle, swimming thousands of miles every year seeking warmer temperatures to nest anywhere between 80 to 120 eggs at a time, before making the arduous journey back to their Pacific or Atlantic Ocean bases. If want to time your visit to witness this incredible spectacle and to understand more about the initiatives to protect turtles, it's worth knowing when they are likely to put in an appearance:

Year round (Peak from January to March)

Green turtles nest all year round in Sri Lanka, with the highest abundance reported in Kosgoda (north of Galle) and Rekawa (near Tangalle). The best time to see them nest is between January and March.

September to November/ November to January

Another of the most common turtles seen in Sri Lanka are the Olive Ridley which appear in large numbers during their nesting seasons between September and November and November and January respectively. Olive Ridley’s have been sighted just about everywhere along Sri Lanka’s coast. Loggerhead, Leatherback and Hawksbill turtles are more rare to sight in Sri Lanka; the first being more common to the East Coast of America and the latter two being on the critically endangered list, driven there by the tortoise shell trade. Leatherbacks and Hawksbill turtles are most likely to be seen around Bentota while Loggerheads have been spotted along Kosgoda and Rekawa.

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