A place where you can see and even stroke large and small turtles. A pleasant activity for children and adults.
This is a typical touristic entertainment in Sri Lanka. It is positioned as a sanctuary, volunteering and caring for nature, but it looks more as a business. I may be mistaking, of course.
So, they buy turtle eggs from the local people (80 rupees a piece, according to the guide), and then grow turtles from them. Then release most of them into the ocean. Some are kept at the hatchery (I don’t get how they choose who should stay for good because not only sick and disabled turtles live there, also quite healthy ones of different ages).
We visited The Uravatte Sea Turtle Hatchery in Ambalangoda, because we stayed just a few minutes of walking from it.
You can choose any other on the island — and you will see just about the same as we did.
Hatcheries usually are open for visiting from 8 am to 5-6 pm.
Price: 500 rupees per person, small children — free of charge (at least we didn’t have to pay for Leo).
An employee will meet you and conduct a mini-tour.
First he showed us the place where the eggs were buried, which should soon hatch.
Then — these turtles. They are tiny, and are only one day old!
Their paws are not the same as adult turtles’ — they’re like paper. Girls and boys are distinguished by their tails, boyshave longer tails.
What concerned me at this stage and made me doubt about the good intentions of the owners and emplyees is that it’s not really important for them HOW you touch the turtles. We took a couple, gently and fearing to harm them somehow .
But together with us at the tour there was a drunk tourist, who didn’t even realize how she ended up here. She scooped the turtles with both her hands, just as much as she could grab — some of the babies almost fell down! This was just painful to see. And do you know what the employee did? He just took a picture of here, without any words. Apparently, this behavior does not surprise him at all. Perhaps this is even normal, I don’t know.
And also, releasing a turtle into the ocean costs extra money. Pay 1000 rupees on top — and go ahead. We were not offered this option. Maybe they were scared that the drunk tourist would kill them in the process, I don’t know))
There are several pools with turtles of different species on the territory. Different types and ages.
Some have health problems, for example, a crumpled shell. Our guide said that they were born like this. Some turtles didn’t have one foot. What was strange is they all didn’t have the right fore foot, all of them. The guide said it was a coincidence)
Some of the turtles are healthy. Why they don’t realize them — I don’t understand.
This is soooo beautiful — how a turtle swims — I can watch it endlessly. It looks like a dance)
And also, they are very strong. This one didn’t like that I was holding her — and she beat me with her forepaws)
Turtles are so cute! In Sri Lanka, there are places right on the beaches where huge turtles regularly come to the shore. As for the hatcheries — it was very interesting to go.
Although, I see more of a desire to make money in this than worries that poachers can kill the turtles. But all in all the place is worth a visit. Until this day, I have never held turtles in my hands.