19. Hatching

After about 55 days, the eggs are beginning to hatch.


Extract from a lecture by the President of MEDASSET - Lily Venizelos

Once the babies hatch, they are unable to reach the surface of the nest without assistance. After some hours when several baby turtles have hatched, they begin to form a column, one on top of another. All together in cooperation, half of them pushing the sand to the sides and away from the upper part of the nest, the other half pushing the column from below with the lowest hatchlings treading on the empty shells and on the sand which the top members of the column are throwing down, they raise the floor of the nest towards the surface. When this column is within 10 centimetres of the the surface of the sand, it stops. They will spend three to five days after hatching in this period of suspense. This waiting period under the surface of the sand is of great importance for the final maturing of the young and for them to learn (imprint) the unique features of the sand. Only thus will they be able, sometimes even after decades, to find their way back to nest on the same beaches on which they were born. American scientists have recorded that a marked sea turtle returned after a gap of 17 years to nest on the same beach!

Decide what to do next - click on the turtle button next to your choice

Look at some tire tracks
Investigate a metal object
Feel the sand