Extract from a lecture by Lily Venizelos of MEDASSET:
The hatchlings mostly escape the attentions of the gulls
because the nests usually open before sunrise. Ghost crabs are not very
common and are not a threat. The journey made from the nest to the sea may
also be of biological importance for imprinting the characteristics of the
sand in the body of the young. For that reason man should not pick up a
young sea turtle and carry it from the nest to the sea.
Where these young are going to in such a hurry, nobody knows.
For the first weeks of its life, the young sea turtle is unable to remain
submerged for very long, nor can it swim fast enough to evade its enemies.
For this reason it is thought the few which survive these hazards spend
the first months of their lives clinging to rafts of seaweed which drift
away from the coast. There they remain protected from most enemies and
nourished by small creatures which live in the seaweed. Until they become
yearlings, these baby turtles are at the mercy of the sea currents. The
hatchlings may take 20-30 years to mature and only 1 in 1000 hatchlings
will survive. Some conservationists suggest that these odds have been
reduced to 1 in 10,000 !
In 20-30 years, the surviving female loggerhead turtle will return to
its natal beach to complete the life-cycle.