These cute endangered sea turtles visit İztuzu Beach in Dalyan in order to lay their eggs. Over-hunting due to its consumption as a luxury food in France, Italy and Far East nearly lead to caretta caretta extinction. Thanks to people of Dalyan, İztuzu Beach is under protection at the moment. Moreover, a Turkish-German cooperated hotel construction begun in 1980, but after the protests by domestic and foreigner residents of Dalyan, Preserving Natural Life Foundation and different foundations, the construction stopped and then demolished completely.
Length of caretta carettas are between 115-150 cm and their weight differs between 70-90 kg. Their shell is in earth color and their stomach is in orange. They live as colonies and generally eat moss. It is estimated that their lifespan is 70 years. Normally they lay tennis-ball-scale eggs in every 2-3 years into the pit that they dig by their hind legs. A turtle digs different pits (maybe to cover where the pit in which it lays its eggs or maybe to check humidity and use the optimum place) and lays 80-100 eggs into one of these pits. Laying process takes hours and as the mother turtle suffers, it cries. Incubation period in İztuzu Beach is approximately 55-60 days between May and July. It is observed that male babies hatch their eggs at 28.5 centigrade degrees and female babies hatch their eggs at 32 degrees Celsius at the beginning of July, and this happening continues until September. There are lots of natural enemies of those laid eggs, and foxes are at the top of the enemy list. They sniff around, find eggs and eat them.
Freshly born babies move towards the light, reflecting from sea, with a natural instinct. However, most of them lost their way and die due to dehydration. Most of the ones, which are managed to reach the sea, are unluckily eaten by crabs, fishes and birds. Experts say that it is enough to survive the generation if one or two eggs can live out of 100 eggs. Newborn babies head towards wrong destinations if there is any other light source. Therefore, it is forbidden to enter İztuzu Beach from sunset until sunrise.