SEA TURTLES: THE RACE FOR SURVIVAL
A female of approximately 40 years of age has reached her sexual maturity; her path has been located by a group of males that follow her to the surface, where she is breathing. Soon the courtship begins, in which the contact of fins and bites in the neck and rear fins are part of this battle for the survival of the species. If the female decides not to accept this coupling, she will try to escape from the group by submerging herself.
However, if she accepts, the winning male will climb on the back of her shell and the copulation will be carried out. The female affirms her consent with her claws. At this time the weakest males are behind.
After a short time this female began her journey through the ocean, which surprisingly will take her to the same beach where 40 years ago was born.
This phenomenon is known as “arribadas”. Her exit from the water will generally be affected by the large amount of Sargasso that invades the Caribbean coasts. She will try to choose a safe place, away from possible predators, to lay her eggs.
Once in the correct place, she will begin to dig a hole, or nest, about 70 cm deep with the help of her rear fins.
This process is usually carried out at night and it can take up to 2 hours for the female to deposit between 80 and 120 eggs.
Once the spawning is over, the female will again cover the nest with sand and then return to the sea. This will be the last time she will see her babies.
It will take more than 50 days for the eggs to hatch; the temperature of the sand will determine the sex of these young turtles.
If the temperature of the nest is greater than 30 degrees (Celsius) females will be born. If the temperature is lower than 30 degrees (Celsius) males will be born. Once the hatching of the eggs begins, all the offspring will emerge in a frenetic race to the sea.
Only 10 percent of the young turtles will reach the adult stage, due to natural predators and the commercialization and illegal fishing of their species. Even during their stay in the nest, their birth can be affected by the theft of eggs by humans, an unfortunate fact that endangers this species.
Currently on the coast of Quintana Roo we are in spawning season, please help us protect this marine species.
Good luck little fellas!