Sea Turtle Incubation
Time of incubation differs according to species, clutch size, and nest temperature as well as humidity.
Most species have an incubation period of 45 to 70 days.
The temperature of the nest, according to studies, determines the sex of an embryo. Lower nest temperatures attract more males, whereas higher temperatures attract more females.
- A nest temperature of 28°C (82°F) or lower produces largely males; a temperature of 31°C (88°F) or higher produces mainly females; and temperatures in the middle produce a mix of male and female hatchlings.
Sea Turtle Hatching
Sea turtles hatch throughout the year, but the majority of them do so in the summer.
Hatchlings use a carbuncle to crack apart the shell (temporary egg teeth).
After hatching, juvenile turtles may take 3 to 7 days to burrow their way to the surface.
At night, hatchlings frequently emerge from the nest. You are less exposed to predators during the day if you emerge at night. Some nests, according to study, will produce hatchlings on more than one night.
In undisturbed nests, most sea turtle species can have more than 90% of their brood hatch successfully. Nests that are disturbed by people or animal predators have a success rate of 25% or less.
When do Sea Turtles Hatch in Florida?
From March to October, many of Florida’s beaches welcome more than 100 thousand female sea turtles that are most definitely not coming to soak up the sun. Under cover of darkness, they emerge from the Atlantic and Gulf, make their way up the sand and dig holes to deposit their eggs. If everything goes just right, baby turtles prepare to emerge from the nests between 45 and 70 days later and begin their march to the sea. If you’re enjoying the Florida beaches during nesting season, remember the turtles are relying on you not to bother their nests.
Getting to the ocean
There are various hypotheses about how hatchlings find their way to the sea.
- Hatchlings can differentiate between light intensities as well as gravitate toward the higher light intensity of the open horizon.
- All through the crawl to the ocean, the hatchling might develop an internal magnetic compass to help it navigate away from the beach.
While a hatchling arrives at the beach, it dives into the water and rides the undertow out to sea.
- After entering the water, the hatchling goes through a “swim frenzy” of continuous swimming for 24 to 48 hours.
- This frenzied effort propels the juvenile turtle deeper into the sea, where it is less susceptible to predators.
- There have been instances of swimming hatchlings diving straight down when birds, even planes, fly overhead. This diving habit could be a behavioural adaption to avoid bird predation.
- Hatchlings use their internal magnetic compass to find their way past the surf zone.
Most sea turtle hatchlings are hardly seen for the first one to three years after they enter the ocean. These are referred to as the “lost years.”
According to biologists, most hatchlings spend their first several years in the water before arriving at coastal sites. Although the migratory patterns of juvenile turtles during their first year have long been unknown, most researchers believe they ride prevailing surface currents, resting amid floating seaweed where they may find food.
Flatback hatchlings, according to study, do not go through an oceanic phase. Following the initial swim frenzy, evidence suggests that the juvenile turtles remain inshore. Most stay within 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) of land.