Friday, August 15, 2014

Turtle Excavations

Yesterday evening I went to my first ever turtle excavation. Over the past few nights we have been visiting some of the sea turtle nests in hopes of seeing them hatch. The baby turtles broke through their shells and the sand on tuesday night. After about three days the scientists and conservatory workers dig into the nest to count the number of turtles who already hatched and check to see if any were left behind. The pictures below are of Loggerhead turtles, from that nest 83 turtles hatched and made it to the water, 55 eggs were unfertilized and 2 baby turtles were left behind.

 The second turtle excavation this morning was a Green turtle nest, which is pretty rare for the island. Most Green turtles lay there eggs closer to Florida and there was only one nest on the entire island this year. I think that they look a lot different from the Loggerhead turtles, they have a different head shape and shell. But both were absolutely adorable. From the Green turtle nest 146 baby turtles hatched, 29 eggs were unfertilized and 2 were left in the nest. Once the scientists scooped away all the sand and found the turtles they showed them to the crowd and then  released them a few feet from the ocean. I watched them slowly waddle their way to the waves and get pushed back and forth by the ruff surf. The crowd cheered once they made it all the way in. 

 This year the island had a total of 31 nests, some years there can be up to 100. Turtles lay eggs every 2-4 years, because of this some years there are a lot of nests and others there are fewer. But the really sad thing is that only 1 in every 1000 baby turtles make it to adulthood. It was amazing seeing the first few moments of those baby turtles lives and I hope that in the future I can do many more things like that. 

- S

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