why do sea turtles lay eggs on land

While male green sea turtles congregate near their closest nesting beach, females always return to their natal beach -- the beach where they were born -- to breed and lay their eggs. The distance females migrate to get to their natal beach depends how far away their feeding grounds are, but distances of up to 1,500 miles have been recorded. It's still a great mystery how they manage to navigate over such great distances, but scientists believe they may be able to detect the Earth's magnetic field and determine latitude and longitude depending on its angle and intensity. They may also use smell and taste to guide them.
When sea turtles crawl onto land to lay their eggs, they appear as though they are crying, shedding tears from their eyes.


Legend has it that these mother turtles are crying for their unborn young. Actually, these turtles arenвt sad and they arenвt crying. Their bodies are simply shedding excess salt, as well as protecting their eyes from the sand while they work on land to make their nests. All living animals and plants need water to survive. Because sea turtles live in salty ocean water their entire lives, their bodies have adapted to survive without any freshwater. Turtles that live on land would not be able to tolerate the ocean water because of its salinity.


They would suffer from dehydration quickly. Unlike land and freshwater aquatic turtles, sea turtles have a salt gland to rid their bodies of excess salt. This gland allows sea turtles to drink salt water while maintaining the salt balance in their bodies. This gland empties into the sea turtlesв eyes. Other animals like sea birds have these specialized salt glands also. This salty solution that is released from their eyes also protects the nesting mother turtleвs eyes from the sand on the beach. It also helps keep their eyes moist so they do not dry out, since nesting turtles can spend up to a couple of hours on the beach making their nest.


You can also help nesting sea turtles fulfill an important part of their speciesв life cycle. Remember to stay away and give a nesting mother her space, cover up any holes you dig on the beach, and turn off distracting lights on the coast when itвs dark. Our hatchlings continue to grow throughout the nesting season! Turtle A now weighs 1309 grams and measures 20. 3 cm long, while Turtle B weighsВ 1199 grams and measuresВ 19. 2 cm long. Use this information in our lesson plan.

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