Sea turtles spend almost their entire lives in the ocean. Even as babies, sea turtles’ boԀɪᴇs have special traits for living at sea, helping them glide and paddle through the water. After emerging from their eggs, baby sea turtles (called “hatchlings”) scramble to the ocean to live the rest of their lives. Only female sea turtles return to land as adults, to lay eggs and begin the cycle again. Here we will learn about interesting things about the breeding season of turtles!
Turtles Lay Eggs Without Mɑтɪпɡ
Yes, female turtles will lay eggs even if there is no male around to mate with them.
Female turtles will lay eggs every year, even if they didn’t mate. The difference is that the eggs won’t be fertilized, so no baby turtles will come out of them.
Each time a turtle gives birth, it lays hundreds of eggs
The number of eggs in a nest, called a clutch, varies by species. In addition, sea turtles may lay more than one clutch during a nesting season. On average, sea turtles lay 110 eggs in a nest, and average between 2 to 8 nests a season. The smallest clutches are laid by Flatback turtles, approximately 50 eggs per clutch. The largest clutches are laid by hawksbills, which may lay over 200 eggs in a nest.
Sea turtles not lay eggs in water! And here is why
A female sea turtle must return to the beach to lay eggs, even though she is most comfortable in the ocean. This is because her eggs can only survive on land.
Baby sea turtles breathe through their eggs before hatching. Oxygen passes through the eggshell and membrane, a thin barrier surrounding the turtle. Even buried in sand, the turtle can still breathe through the egg. But they cannot breathe if the egg is in the water.
Sea turtle eggs also need warm temperatures to grow properly. Beaches provide the right conditions to help eggs develop. Mother sea turtles bury their group of eggs (called a “clutch”) in sandy nests to protect them until they are ready to hatch.
Once in the sea, how do baby turtles find their mother?
They don’t. Once baby sea turtles are out of the nest and have made it to the ocean, they are completely on their own. They must depend on their instincts and just survive by hiding in seaweed. Their survival will depend as well on luck avoiding predators who will come after them as soon as they pop out of their nest.
Why you shouldn’t touch baby sea turtles?
Give a man in a foreign country a dollar or two and get the chance to directly release a baby turtle into the ocean yourself. What could be wrong with that?
Apart from the general issues of turtle hatcheries, which you can learn much more about here, touching baby sea turtles can be problematic in its own right.
– Baby sea turtles are super fragile, and you can easily damage their soft shell and organs or even break their food sac if you don’t handle them extremely carefully.
– Both hands should be used wearing latex gloves or similar.
– Ideally, sea turtles should never be touched by humans at all, though, and if they are then only by trained professionals or people who have undergone training.
– It’s also important for the turtles to crawl in the sand themselves directly after hatching in what’s known as the imprinting process, helping them to later return to the same beach to nest.
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Video source: The Tortoise Whisperer