Sunday, November 23, 2014
Sea turtles live in almost every ocean, all around the world. Loggerhead sea turtles have been on Earth for 250 million years and are related to the dinosaurs. “Loggerhead” sea turtles are known for their big, clunky head and large beak. The Loggerhead shell is golden brown, like honey, and their skin ranges in color from yellow to brown.
After birth, Loggerhead sea turtles head into the sea, where they spend most of their life. Sea turtles spend their day eating and resting. Sea turtles can sleep under water, curled up under rocks or in reefs. Or, they float on top of the water with their fins pulled back, and laying against their shell.
Sea turtles spend most of their lives alone, but there are short periods of time where turtles “date”. A female Loggerhead is usually ready to breed after 30 years (can you imagine if your parents made you wait that long to date! Haha – kidding). Sometimes male turtles fight over a female turtle they really like. Dating for a turtle involves play fighting—a turtle may gently bite another or bump shells (kinda like bumping fists!).
After this, the male stays at sea while the female goes to land to build a nest and lay eggs.
Loggerhead sea turtles are known to travel hundreds or even thousands of miles from its feeding ground to its nesting place, this is called “migration”. Scientists are not sure how sea turtles map their migration but guess that sea turtles may be able to read the Earth’s electromagnetic fields, and use that to find their way. Zzap!
When a Loggerhead is ready to build her nest, there is only one place she will go—back to the very same beach she was born! After 30 years, the Loggerhead will somehow know, over thousands of miles of endless blue sea, how to find the way back home. At night, Loggerhead will leave the water to make a nest on land, which she makes by digging a hole in the sand with her flippers. The female Loggerhead will lay between 50-200 eggs, each the size of a golf ball, and then hide her nest to keep it safe. The sea turtles are very fragile animals so out of the many eggs hatched, few turtles actually survive.
After two months, the eggs hatch and the baby Loggerheads make their way back to the sea (this happens when temperatures are cool, between the time the sun goes down, until it comes up again). The baby Loggerheads wait until the sun goes down then use the light of the stars and moon shining off the water to find their way into the sea. The baby Loggerheads will swim back into the sea and will drift on the currents for many years, eating and resting and growing.
- Daylen Swift
Sea Turtle Conservancy: http://www.conserveturtles.org
(Greek Island Sea Turtles) Zante Carretta Caretta Loggerhead Turtles: http://www.explore-zakynthos.com/zakynthos_caretta_caretta_loggerhead_turtles_zante.htm