Jul 29, 2009

Green Sea Turtle Nesting Adventure

As part of our family's summer vacation, we went to the famous green sea turtle nesting place in Ras Al Jinz, Ras Al Haad on 28th of June. We stayed at the Ras al-Jinz Research and Visitors Centre and we decided to join the 9pm-12am as well as the 4am-6am tours. We joined the 9pm tour coz we learned that turtles come to the shore at night to lay their eggs and have to leave in the morning. As expected, we saw many turtles laying eggs in the dark but we couldn't take good pictures because it is forbidden to use torches and flash photography as turtles might be stressed and feel oppressed. The 4am tour was also good because we still saw one turtle laying its eggs and we were able to take some good shots although the weather is not so good at this time of the year as you can see in the pictures i posted. We also saw a lot of turtles racing to go back to the sea before it gets to hot!

Our family really enjoyed the trip and we learned a lot about turtles, green sea turtles in particular.

From the trip I learned that....
  1. Turtles rise from the sea at night to lay their eggs when they reach the age of 37 (until 49).
  2. Turtles lay eggs three times a year.
  3. Turtles dig a cavity for its eggs and covers it, first with its back flippers and then use its front flippers to camouflage the area against its predators.
  4. Green sea turtles lay about 100 to 200 eggs per nesting. 
  5. It returns to the sea after covering the egg cavity.
  6. Turtles has to return to the sea before sunrise, even without laying its eggs and return in the evening to do so.
  7. Foxes and crabs visit the nesting area at night to look for some eggs. Sometimes they get lucky when another turtle accidentally digs another turtle's nest thereby scattering the eggs.

  • If #7 happens and foxes and crabs does not finish the eggs, sea gulls will definitely feast on what remains in the morning.

Did you know that....
  1. Turtle will return to the same exact beach where it is hatched to lay their own eggs! (Amazing)
  2. Out of 1000 eggs only about 2 or 3 lives (how sad). As i've mentioned above, foxes,sea gulls and crabs prey on the eggs and crabs and sea gulls prey on the hatchlings when they go to the sea.
  3. Warm temperatures (>29° C) produce females while cooler temperatures (<29°C) produce males.
  4. Ras al-Jinz prohibit the use of torches and lights during turtle nesting because the hatchlings will follow the light instead of going back to the open sea where it belongs!

Unfortunately, there were no hatchlings when we went there. We need to wait for 2 months after nesting to see hatchlings and since the nesting season began in June we might see hatchlings in August.



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