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Life´s a Beach – The Story of a Newborn Turtle

turtle-in-akumal

The room was dark, I could hear my sibling turtles trying to push, pressing their feet against the shell to break free. It  was humid and warm, comfortable in my egg if you ask me but I was ready to go out and explore. The first thing I felt was the soft and white sand below my little feet. I struggled to get my entire body out of the shell. It was exciting to smell the air and feel the salty breeze on my face. I tried to make a beeline to the sea, but stumbled many times on the beach. its tough for a little guy like me to coordinate my little fins. The waves of turquoise crashed on to the beach. Would that be my new home? How much longer will it take me to get there? Between the birds that were stalking me and the risk of my tiny body getting tired on my way to the ocean chances are slim I will make it. Only 1 of 100 of us little turtles live long enough to come back to nesting area again.

It´s a long haul across the beach to the water. I was determined but then I felt a shadow over me, it was a giant bird swooping in! Whew, that was close! Scared, I scurried towards the ocean as fast as I could. Not stopping to look back at the other turtles struggling to get to touch the warm and salty water. It seemed like millions of steps to make it to the water. A small wave threw me back on the beach, then a second bigger wave took me into the surf, swimming into the immensity of a new world!

We can only image what the thoughts of that baby turtle were, but we do know a few things about sea turtles…

Important Facts

1.- It takes almost a decade for them to reach sexual maturity

2.- The mothers place the eggs on the beach at night

3.- Turtles always return to the same beach where they were born to give birth

4.- Gender of the turtles depends on the temperature of the beach

5.- Incubation takes from 50 to 60 days

6.- A turtle can lay from 50 to 350 eggs at once

7.- The process of laying eggs takes from 50 to 180 minutes

8.- Quintana Roo is home of 4 out of 7 species of sea turtles that exist worldwide

9.- Sea Turtle nesting period starts on July and last hatchings can extend until February

10.- The survival percentage for Sea turtles actually is only 1%

sea-turtle-on-beach

 

A few tips to help turtles

  • Remove beach chairs from the beach at night if staff fails to do so. Please move them as far back as possible.
  • Do not approach Sea Turtles on the beach and always use a red light when trying to watch them. You can place a piece of red cellophane over a flashlight to soften the glare.
  • Do not take any flash photographs.
  • Do not touch the nests. If a nest has not yet been marked, you can make a small marker with stones or sticks around it.
  • Remember to minimize the use of indoor lights that can be seen from the beach, and make sure any outdoor lights are red. If the outdoor lights have not been changed, ask your property manager to do so.
  • Never touch any Sea Turtles, nor pursue them, either on the beach or while snorkeling or diving.
  • Do not participate in activities that require capturing hatchlings to be released later. This is an unnatural practice that stresses the turtles, weakens them, and exposes them to disease, thus reducing their chances of survival at sea.
  • It is a federal offense to handle any endangered species, such as Sea Turtles, without proper government authorization. Report any irregularities to PROFEPA at 1-800-776-3372, or through their website at http://www.profepa.gob.mx/, or by email at [email protected]

–  Read more about turtle season in the Riviera Maya.

Paulina is a crazy animal lover who has been living in the Riviera Maya for over 9 years. Her expertise is designing unique vacations for travelers and visitors. This comes from her desire to share her area knowledge, local restaurant secrets, and cool cultural experiences that have been a large part of her life on the coast. Paulina never sits still on her day off as she feels there is always something to see, a new beach to check out or a new restaurant to try. She loves answering questions and helping you plan your next vacation. [email protected]

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