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flora/fauna


The green island of Zante, called by the Venetians "the flower of the east" is rich in wildlife and flora. The heavy rainfall in the winter helps the island to be verdant and covered with forests, fruit orchards and olive groves and the geology has also created beautiful beaches, secluded coves and blue caves.

The endangered  Caretta Caretta turtles  are strongly associated with Zante as they nest their eggs on the beaches in the south of the island around the Lagana Gulf. Zakynthos is of immense environmental importance to the turtles, as they have lost many beaches throughout the Mediterranean due to commercialisation - and the beaches in Greece, in particular on Zante, are the turtle's last heaven where their babies can hatch.

Another species that relies on the clear waters around Zante is the  Monachus Monachus seal (often called the monk seal). The seals are the *most *endangered species in Europe, with only a few hundred animals remaining in the Mediterranean. 

Dolphins can also sometimes be seen of the coast of Zante, making an impressive display as they dance in and out of the calm sea.

Zante also has many types of Flowers  and while these are best viewed in the spring and summer there are flowers in bloom all year round. The forests are rich with Birds and many migratory birds stop off at the island for a rest before continuing their journey.

The mild, Mediterranean climate and the plentiful winter rainfall endow the island with dense vegetation. The principal agricultural products are olive oils  currants grapes and citrus fruit. The Zante currant is a small sweet seedless grape which is native to the island. The Bay of Laganas is the site of the first National Marine park and the prime nesting area for loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) in the Mediterranean.  Caretta caretta is an endangered species  – especially by the deck chairs laid out on their breeding grounds and the inevitable pollution. Every year at the beginning of June, the female turtles come to the southern beaches in order to bury their eggs in the sand.

The incubation period for the nest is approximately fifty-five days, after which time hatchlings emerge from the nest and make their way to the sea. Their survival rate is very small, it is estimated that only one in one thousand hatchlings that enter the sea lives to adulthood. Each nest contains around one hundred to one hundred and twenty eggs, each of which are around the size and shape of a ping-pong ball. Female turtles begin to lay eggs at around twenty to thirty years of age.