Nesting Loggerheads

19 Jun

From the desk of Madi:

Last night I had one of the most amazing night moments in my life. We got to see a loggerhead sea turtle nesting! We went to the Sebastian Inlet State Park, and got there around nine at the fishing museum for a presentation.

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So excited!

Before the presentation we got to look around at all the seashells and old fishing lures and stuff. The ranger who led us on the beach walk and did the presentation was named Abby. She was very nice. Mom, Peyton, and I already knew  most of the stuff on the power point from the turtle hospital.

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Exploring in the Fishing Museum

During the presentation, turtle scouts were walking the beaches looking for loggerheads, and they found one early on but she false crawled. A false crawl means she went up on the beach, but for whatever reason she didn’t think it was good enough for nesting so she went back to the water.

A loggerhead turtle's false crawl tracks

A loggerhead turtle’s false crawl tracks

The museum had lots of brochures with cool facts. Did you know that turtles look like they are crying when they lay eggs because they are getting rid of salt?

Soon we went to our cars and drove to the beach. When we got there we started walking down the beach. It was a beautiful night and there was lightning all around us. As we walked down the beach we saw several nests but no turtles. When we turned around and were walking back up we came across a loggerhead crawling up the dunes! We all crouched down and Abby went to look, but the turtle was digging in the roots and was taking a long time, so we kept walking.

A little while later we found another turtle digging a nest out so we stopped and crouched down again. When she started laying eggs we all went to watch. It was really weird looking. She would have a contraction before pushing each egg out, and they were all slimy. When she was done, we moved back and as she was walking towards the water we got to pet her shell! Abby named her Erica in honor of turtle volunteer who had passed away that day.

All in all it was a very cool trip! The babies will hatch in two months. Their gender depends on the temperature of the sand around the eggs. Our ranger made a joke about it, “ Hot chicks and cool dudes.”

From Robin: next on the list is to try and catch a hatching and some baby turtles in action!

2 Responses to “Nesting Loggerheads”

  1. S/V Haanli June 19, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

    What a wonderful experience. We learned alot from your post. It never occurred to us that creatures like turtles would have contractions or that the sex was determined by the external environment and not genetics. Thanks for the education. As a cool dude myself I wonder if I was hatched in cool sand. Hmmm.
    Hank and Lisa

    • four2tango June 24, 2013 at 9:49 am #

      Madi says that must be true, Mr. Hank as she thinks you are a very cool dude!

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