What is the birth process for baby sea turtles and how many survive?

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The birth process for baby sea turtles involves several stages, from the laying of eggs to the hatchlings' journey to the ocean. Here is a detailed overview:

Birth Process

  1. Nesting:
    • Female sea turtles return to the beaches where they were born to lay their eggs. They dig a nest in the sand using their back flippers, which can take from one to three hours.
    • Each nest can contain up to 100 eggs, and the incubation period typically lasts between 45 to 70 days, depending on the species and environmental conditions.
  2. Incubation:
    • The temperature of the sand plays a crucial role in determining the sex of the hatchlings. Cooler sand temperatures produce more males, while warmer sand temperatures produce more females. This phenomenon is known as Temperature-Dependent Sex Determination (TSD).
  3. Hatching:
    • Hatchlings use a temporary egg tooth called a carbuncle to break open their shells. After hatching, they may take several days to dig their way to the surface.
    • Hatchlings usually emerge at night to avoid predators and the heat of the day. They use natural cues such as the slope of the beach, the white crests of the waves, and the natural light horizon to find their way to the ocean.
  4. Journey to the Ocean:
    • Once they reach the surf, hatchlings enter a "swim frenzy," swimming continuously for about 24 to 48 hours to reach deeper waters where they are less vulnerable to predators.

Survival Rate

The survival rate of sea turtle hatchlings is extremely low. It is estimated that only about 1 in 1,000 hatchlings survive to adulthood. This low survival rate is due to various factors, including predation by birds, crabs, raccoons, and fish, as well as disorientation caused by artificial lights, which can lead hatchlings away
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