Today let’s take a closer look at one of the oldest and most ancient reptiles living on our planet.
These sea creatures are older than snakes and crocodiles and have been on earth since millions of years ago!
Currently, there are about 365 known species alive today. Sadly, they are highly endangered. One of their main struggle is climate change.
Let’s understand why climate change is a threat to sea turtles.
All Turtles lay eggs.
When it is time, they will swim to shore and look for dry, sandy beaches for that perfect spot for their eggs.
Sea Turtles in particular have a good memory. They will return back to the same nesting place they were born, to lay eggs. But with rising sea levels, these beaches are disappearing. Thus the turtles don’t return back to their nesting grounds.
Also since turtles are cold-blooded, the surrounding environment helps to determine its body temperature. This will help the turtle live in its natural habitat more comfortably.
Temperatures of the environment plays a big part in deciding the gender of a turtle egg too. The temperature of the sand in which the egg is buried in, will determine whether the egg develop into a boy or girl. If the temperature is high, a baby girl turtle is formed. And if the temperature is lower, a boy is formed.
Amazing right! But wait… If the nest temperature gets warmer, there will be more baby girls than baby boys. And that creates a breeding problem with the turtles.
Turtles lay roughly about 70-190 eggs into the sand.
Once done, they will quickly cover the eggs with sand. Then, they will leave the eggs to hatch by themselves.
Word for the Day: Baby Turtles are called Hatchlings.
The eggs take about 70-120 days to hatch. And once they have hatched, it’s the survival of the fittest.
The baby turtles will have to wiggle their way out of the sand and rush towards the water. The faster they get to the water the safer they are. There are a lot of predators such as big birds and crabs, waiting to eat them up. Some baby turtles simply go the wrong way and end up getting lost.
Unfortunately, it is said that only 1 in 1000 hatchlings will make it to adulthood.
So what can we do to help these hatchlings reach the sea safely?
In some countries, beach goers are told not to have beach bonfires during the nesting season. And if they were to see any mummy turtles, they are not to disturb it.
Shinning bright lights at them is also forbidden because hatchlings use the moonlight as a guide to the waters. Seeing other sources of light will make them go the wrong way.
Isn’t it great that such measures are taken so that people know how to handle these hatchlings if they ever encounter one?
How many of you have a pet turtle, tortoise or terrapin? Share the love for these creatures with us. Click a picture of both of you and #AnimalFunFacts.
It’s always fun to learn more!
Remember - it’s all animals, all the time!