Sea turtles should be spotted on land only once or twice in their life cycle. The first is as a hatchling when all the newly-hatched turtles in a nest emerge as a group and race to the ocean. The other is when a female comes out of the water toward the dune line to dig her egg chamber and lay eggs. Healthy adult males should never been seen out of the water.
Females return to lay their eggs within a short distance of where they hatched and first went into the ocean. This is amazing because for more than 14 years from birth to nesting, that sea turtle can travel thousands of miles around the globe. They have a great internal GPS system that scientists can’t fully explain.
Females can lay from 100 to 120 eggs at a time. They might lay more than one nest in a season and then take a few years off.
Nesting loggerheads look as though they are crying when they appear to have a contraction and drop eggs. Actually, there are salt glands near their eyes. Sea turtles periodically get rid of some of the salt from sea water through those glands. It simply looks as though they are tears.
One nest’s hatchlings can have several (scientists think even up to six or more) fathers. In the ocean, one female can mate with more than one male, creating a “sperm milkshake” that she stores until her eggs are ready to go into a chamber.
The sex of the developing sea turtles depends upon the temperature of the sand surrounding the egg. Warmer temperatures create females; cooler sand develops males.
Keep watching posts for information about how you can watch a Loggerhead lay its eggs on a Melbourne area beach in June and July, or learn more from the Sea Turtle Preservation Society.