Go, baby turtles, go! I remember the first time I saw this video, I was glued to it. Of course it was probably after watching both, A Turtle’s Tale movies, so I half expected to see sea gulls come soaring in and start snatching them up.
Baby Sea Turtles
When the Mama sea turtle is ready to make a nest for her eggs, she’ll wait until night so there’s less likely to be anyone around. Then, when the tide is at it’s highest and she knows the nest will be safe from its reach, she starts digging. Using her back flippers she will dig a hole and lay her eggs in it. Depending on which species of turtle she is, the Mama can lay anywhere from 50 to 200 eggs.
Sea turtle eggs are completely round and about the size of a Ping Pong ball. They don’t have hard shells, though, like we’re used to seeing in our chicken eggs. These eggs are more like a thin sheet of leather or paper, surrounded by mucous. This allows them to drop into the hole without breaking. When she’s done laying her eggs, the female sea turtle will then cover the eggs completely with dirt or sand. This prevents them from drying out and gives them a layer if protection.
The location the egg is within the nest is what will determine the sex of the turtle. Actually, if you want to get really technical, the temperature the egg is exposed to is what truly determines it. But, the location within the nest has a lot to do with what temperature they will be exposed to.
For example, the eggs closer to the surface will be warmer, due to the sun warming the sand. As will the eggs in the very middle who are surrounded by their brethren. Turtle eggs that are exposed to warmer temperatures, become female turtles. The ones who are a little colder, are the males.
Somewhere between six to ten weeks later, these tiny creatures start to break open their skin-like eggs. They take a few days to absorb the yolk that is attached to them umbilically. This is what gives them the strength to reach the water.
When they’re all ready to go, they huddle together near the surface and wait until the sand cools, to indicate night. Then, like you saw in the video, they make a mad dash for the sea. Sadly, though, only about one in every thousand will survive to adulthood. So, cheer for these turtles to survive!