Friday, September 14, 2012

Turtles hatching on Isla Juan Venado, Nicaragua Island of John Deer

On Sunday night 10th of September where it was the first day of nesting seaon.  We took a launch to the reserve of the Island of the John Deer at night to watch the turtles nesting and laying eggs. There are 4 types of turtles that go to to the beach on this island and the different types have slightly different seasons.  The turtles hatching starts in September and ends in Deccember.  We saw blaslama turtles nesting.  The turtles come from the water and look for a good place to nest.  You can see their tracks going to and from the water.  1 out of 100-1000 turtles will survive which is why they have a turtle hatchery to help increase the rate of survival.  There is also an organization that tags the turtles.  The eggs have many preditors such as snake and racoons as well as humans. Turtles eggs are sold and eaten in Nicaragua.  There are campaigns to educate people so they do not eat turtle eggs.  Once they hatch it takes 5 days for them to crawl from their nest buried in the sand at a depth of 45 cm to the top. They are born with enough nutrition to live for about 8 days.  When they surface many birds such as pelicans and prey on them.  Then when they make it to the water they also have more predators in the water. 
The reserve changes the site of the nursery every year to prevent infection.
When observing turtles we need to not use white lights so not to disturb the turtles but red lights can be used.  
Juan Venado has salt water on both side but has fresh water in the middle.

Holding a turtle egg

The turtle comes out of the water and goes to almost the bushes of the beach and dug a hole and layed the eggs into the nest. 

We collected the eggs to take back to the egg hatchery to be protected from predators

Observing the turtle laying eggs

Turtle on the way back to the water after laying eggs

Turtle in the process of laying eggs

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