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Outdoor Resorts of America

Part C - Nesting Turtles

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I got tired of just looking at the turtle tracks during the day and decided to come down to the beach after dark, hopefully to see nesting turtles. There is about half full moon, so it really is not too dark on the beach. The first evening I spent 1.5 hours standing on the ODR steps to the beach and did not see any thing. As I was getting ready to leave, a fellow (Jack) came walking up from the beach and said he saw several turtles nesting and was able to get some pictures after they covered the nests. He was staying at the condo's just north of Ebb Tide. He showed me several pictures which were in his camera and they really looked good. His camera used the same memory as mine so I asked him if I could get a copy of some of the pictures. Well, to keep it short, after a trip to our motorhome and my laptop, it only cost me a beer for the pictures. Thanks again Jack!

We stopped at the Sea Turtle Preservation Society and got a lot of good information. The turtles take 10 to 20 minutes to crawl from the ocean to a level high enough on the beach for nesting. Then they either look for a better spot or start to dig. When digging they flip the sand over their back with their front fins. When the hole is deep enough they back into it and deposit from 100 to 120 eggs. Then they cover the hole, also done by flipping sand over their back. Then they have to crawl back to the ocean. This whole process takes from 1 to 1.5 hours.

If there is enough warm sun to cause incubation, the eggs will hatch in 60 days. The eggs near the top of the hole are warmed more than the eggs in the bottom of the hole. The turtle's sex is dependent on the heat during incubation. Therefore, the ladies are on top and the guys are on the bottom of the hole. If there is an extra hot summer, then there will be more ladies than guys!

The Sea Turtle always returns to the same beach it was hatched on for nesting.
The mother turtle will never know her children.

Loggerhead Turtle.
Heading back to the ocean after covering nest.
You can see the sand piled on her back due to the digging and covering process.

Loggerhead Turtle - It looks like she closes her eyes when digging.
Actually, Mom read that they cry when they are burying their eggs to wash the sand out of their eyes. (not from pain)
The Loggerhead has nails on the front fins, they can be seen here.

Loggerhead Turtle - She is almost home!
See you next year!

Leatherback Turtle - the largest of all marine reptiles
She just finsihed depositing the eggs and is covering the hole.
The Leatherback does not have nails on it's front fins.

Leatherback Turtle
The hole is covered and she is returning to the ocean.

Leatherback Turtle and Jack
The shell is at least 5 feet long.
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