(Photo from William MacKenzie |Tortuguero Study Group (Aug 6-11) > Atlantic Green Sea Turtle Hatchlings (CCC))They give hatchlings 3 days to get out of the nest then they go in and check things out. So we followed her! G helped her dig up a 3x3 foot square piece of mesh which is normally only 16 - 24 inches deep but the Gustav inspired waves covered it about 2 more feet. The mesh is to keep the raccoons and armadillos from eating the eggs. Once she had the mesh out of the way she used her hands to dig for the nest. Which was about 8 inches in diameter and a foot or so deep.
She pulled out shells, unhatched eggs, and 2 hatchlings that did not make it out of their shells. She let G count the whole eggs for her to documents, while she counted the partials, and they both buried the 2 that didn't make it together. It was amazing. G helped her a bit with a second nest... but we had been out for 3 hours and were turning pink so we said thank you and went home. She asked G if we would be here tomorrow... that she would tell us what she found in this second nest if we saw her in the morning. So Neat!!
She was so gracious and informative. Here are somethings we learned.
- Sea Turtle dot org- When I told her we were homeschoolers and that this was a great lesson she said to check out this site where you call follow tagged mommies back to their homes, including ones from here. She said there is lots of info for teachers.
- Turtles like alligators determine their sex by the temperature. Also even if they hatchlings are hatched... they won't come out of the nest if it is too hot. They'll wait until 1 or 2 in the morning when it's cooler.
- The eggs she found will not hatch. If they contain live turtles you can actually feel them moving inside. If she had found live eggs she would have reburied them, too.