A report shows that over the last several months, hundreds of sea turtles crawled from the sea to American beaches to lay eggs, as they have done for millions of years. Despite ‘climate change’ concerns, Florida and other states had record nesting this year.
Florida’s early numbers reveal over 133 thousand loggerhead turtle nests, shattering a 2016 record. At least 76,500 green turtle nests are estimated, surpassing the 2017 record.
The seven sea turtle species are green, loggerhead, olive ridley, Kemp’s ridley, leatherback, hawksbill, and flatback. All are endangered or threatened. On warm evenings, they dig burrows in the sand, lay hundreds of eggs, cover them, and return to the sea.
On average, 1 in a thousand sea turtles make it to adulthood. They confront predators, nest interruptions, and the inability to reach water after hatching.
According to Carly Oakley, a senior turtle conservation scientist at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, high tides and floods on barrier islands destroyed almost all of the eggs the turtles laid before Hurricane Idalia.
Turtle nesting activity is seasonal since female turtles typically lay eggs every three years. Due to the high energy demands of nesting, females take this time off to recharge their batteries.
According to NOAA, the temperature at which the eggs develop determines the sex of the subsequent generation. The terminology for this process is TSD or temperature-dependent sex determination.
According to studies, male turtles will hatch from eggs at sand temperatures below 81.86° Fahrenheit. But if the incubator’s temperature exceeds 88.8 degrees Fahrenheit, the resulting babies will be female. Temperature fluctuations will produce a mixture of females and males.
Because of their inability to see the night sky, turtles may wander aimlessly on beaches illuminated by artificial lights rather than the moon’s natural light. Some are picked off by predators or fish as they enter the water.
Biologist Michelle Pate of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources said that despite increasing nest numbers across the Southeast, tens of thousands of hatchlings still do not reach the sea.