When do Sea Turtles Lay Eggs?
Sea turtles are one of the most beloved creatures of the ocean, and are fascinating to watch as they move through their daily lives. But one of their most important activities is nest building and egg-laying. Knowing when sea turtles deposit their eggs is essential for researching and protecting them.
When it Happens
The exact timing of sea turtle nesting season is dependent on the species. Generally, the deposition of eggs occurs during the night and is dictated by lunar and temperature cycles. The season for nesting also depends on the location, for example, in the United States, the nesting season typically runs from May to August.
Sea turtles travel great distances to find nesting locations. Turtles use scent and magnetic cues to locate their target beach. Not all sea turtles travel long distances, but the majority of those that do max out at 50 kilometers.
Once the appropriate location for egg-laying has been found, the female sea turtle will dig a shallow nest in the sand. After she has finished her nest, she will lay her eggs, usually numbering between 70 to 168. Then the turtle will cover up her nest and head out to sea.
After being nestled in the sand, the eggs will incubate for an average of 50-60 days, depending on the species. Once an egg has hatched, the little turtle will emerge and instinctively head towards the ocean. Unfortunately, sea turtle hatchlings have several predators, the most common being crabs, birds, and other carnivores. This means that only a small fraction of hatchlings make it to adulthood.
Given their importance to the aquatic ecosystem and their highly vulnerable state, efforts to protect sea turtles have become commonplace in many areas. For example, some beaches have conservation organizations that help monitor, protect, and even relocate eggs in order to increase their chance for survival.
To ensure the protection of sea turtles and their eggs, it is essential to be aware of the periods when nesting occurs. By understanding the needs of these creatures, we can make sure that the future of sea turtles remains strong.