We are waiting for the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle eggs to hatch. The last time we had them on Ft. Morgan was 2012

August 6, 2016
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We are waiting for the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle eggs to hatch. The last time we had them on Ft. Morgan was 2012

We are waiting for the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle eggs to hatch. The last time we had them on Ft. Morgan was 2012

“We are waiting for the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle eggs to hatch. They are an endangered species and the last time we had them on Ft. Morgan was 2012. This year we have had two on Ft. Morgan and one on another beach. The mamas are smaller than the loggerhead turtle, which is what we are used to. One Kemp hatched this morning at 8:58 and hit the water at 10:05. We are used to a boil coming out and a hundred or so turtles going to the water at one time. We are all animal lovers and protecting an endangered species makes a difference. They say one in 1,000 makes it to maturity on Ft. Morgan and we put more than 4,000 babies in the water last year. We have people who have been doing this for 13 years. When that baby lifts its little head after it makes it to the water, we all get emotional. It is sweet and they are so cute. Visitors from across the country wait and watch with us and this is something most of people don’t get to see. The turtles come back to the same beach where they were born.”

“Where will the turtles go from here?”

“The Kemps will spend 15 years offshore before they make their way back here. They spend most of their life in the Gulf. Some of the loggerheads will make the loop around Florida and get into the Gulf Stream and go to the Mediterranean and southwest Europe before they come back here. We can track them only so far. They have some control of migration but for the most part they ride the current until they get big enough and instinct brings them back. They have an internal GPS that imprints to the magnetic field of the earth that gets them to the vicinity, then they can smell the beach. Each beach has different chemicals that differentiates this from a beach in Florida or Louisiana. The scent cues lead them to the area.”

“The mamas lay eggs every two weeks during the season. Kemp’s lay 2- 3 clutches and then take two or three years off.”

“We will excavate the eggs after three days and turn all of the information to Fish and Wildlife.”

“These guys will get up to 100 pounds and 2.5 feet. Loggerheads can be over 2-300 pounds. One in 1,000 will make it back as an adult. Each mom produces 500 babies, so she needs two reproductive seasons just to replace herself, but they are reproductively active for 40-50 years. Some will survive. They are packed with nutrition and relatively soft, they are the perfect bite-size snack. Our work on the beach keeps away coyotes, foxes and seagulls from getting them on the beach, but once they hit the water sharks and fish and birds will get them.”

“We like to get on boogie boards and follow them out and protect them as long as we can.”

 

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