Like other sea turtles, the green sea turtles take big trips from where they roam and feed to where they nest.
Returning to the Birth Home
Their nesting grounds are usually on sandy beaches and are often the same place used by their own mothers. This means that they return to where they were born to do their own nesting.
Sea Turtles make between one to seven nests per season - often colloquially referred to as sandcastles.
Both Shallow and Deep
The female leaves the sea for their chosen area. Once here, they dig a pit in the sand with their flippers making sure it is both shallow and deep to produce both male and female youngsters.
Males vs Females
The mother uses her front flippers to dig a broad pit in the sand and then her back flippers to carefully carve out a bottle-shaped burrow. Her eggs will incubate males in the deeper and cooler part of the nest, while the more shallow, warmer part of the nest will produce females.
That's a Lot of Eggs!
Once dug, the mother turtle will fill it with a clutch of anywhere between 80 to 200 eggs, cover the pit, then return to the sea.
Safety of the Night
This is usually done at night and when there is a new moon and little light on the beach. The dimly lit beach helps to protect her eggs from the preying eyes of predators.
Digging to the Surface
The eggs are left to incubate for about 8 weeks. After hatching, the tiny turtles take a number of days to dig their way out of their nest.
A Team Effort
It is always a group effort for the hatchlings to finally make their way out of the nest. So working together, they scrape away the roof of their nest until they reach about two centimetres from the surface of the beach.
Dig at Night
The hatchlings nearest to the surface stop their digging if the sand feels hot as this indicates that it may be daytime. They wait to start digging again, once the sand is cool. This will indicate that they can emerge in the safety of the night, avoiding the harsh heat of the sun and the easy view of predatory birds.
Follow the Bright Light
Once out of the nest, the hatchlings find their way to the ocean by heading to the brightest horizon. This is why no one should ever shine torches around hatchlings as they will become confused and perhaps not make it to the safety of the sea.
A Dangerous Time #1
The most dangerous time for the green sea turtle’s life is when it makes the journey from nest to sea. As they scramble out of the nest and scamper across the beach to the safety of the sea, they have to escape the many predators waiting to feast on them … crabs, gulls and other birds such as sea eagles.
A Dangerous Time #2
Once in the sea, tiger sharks and people become the main predators of the green sea turtle.
Those That Do Survive
Due to the many hazards on land and in the sea, many, if not most, green sea turtles do not survive to adulthood.
However, they can live up to between 80 to 100 years if they do survive.
TORRI BOOK 2
... other interesting facts from Book 2
The Microscopic Zoox
The zooxanthellae (zoox for short) are tiny living single-celled organisms that help keep coral healthy through a mutually beneficial relationship. The zoox are actually a diverse group of organisms that sustain and actively build heathy reef ecosystems.
Where Do They Go?
It is not known where whale sharks - the largest of fish - go to breed. This remains one of the many unanswered questions about this sea creature.
Register your interest in Torri: The Great Reef Surfing Turtle