From September until March it is turtle hatching season at Escape. Beautiful majestic sea turtles find their way back home to lay their eggs deep in the sand of the beaches on the coastline. Unfortunately the turtles and turtle eggs are a welcome snack to animals and part of the local people. So each year we start our Turtle Rescue Project where we watch the beachside for Turtle Mamas, get their eggs to our turtle nursery and wait for them to hatch about 50 – 70 days later.
It’s a miracle of nature that you might see once in a lifetime. So help us save the turtles and join the Turtle Watch! 🙂
We’ve put down the essentials that you need to know in a handy Turtle Rescue How-To, just click the boxes below.
– When you find a turtle mama coming to the beach to lay her eggs, don’t use a flash light and be quiet – it’s best to make yourself « invisible » to her.
– Also do not turn over the turtle or touch her while she is moving to or from the beach because this might confuse her.
– While she is laying her eggs, the turtle is in a trance and not conscious about her evironment. Then (and ONLY then) you are allowed to use some light and touch and measure her.
– When the turtle is laying her eggs, you can also dig a little at her back to see where exactly the eggs are dropped. To remember where the nest is, put a stick next to the eggs (but not too close) and wait until she has finished.
– When she has laid all of her eggs, the turtle will cover up the nest and remove all traces. But no worries, you still have the stick to guide your way!
– Now let the turtle return to the sea without using any lights and stay quiet, be « invisible » again.
– When she’s gone, you can take a bucket and carefully (!) dig out the eggs out of the nest.
– YOU CAN ONLY MOVE THE EGGS THE NEXT 3 HOURS AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN LAYED!
When you move them after that time, they may be destroyed and there won’t be any babies!
– Take all the eggs to the nursery, where you dig out the new nest. The hole should be as deep as your elbow.
– Now you can put the eggs inside – count them as you go along and remember the number.
– Cover up the nest with wet sand and put a box over it. Write a number on the box.
– Finally write down the
— Number of the box / nest
— Number of eggs
— Date and time
— Expected date for the babies to come
in the nursery book.
– The babies will hatch after about 50 days (70 days for the Leatherback babies) – that is why it is important to write all the above information in the book.
– Check 1-2 days before and after the expected date because sometimes they come early or late.
– Normally, the babies come to the surface between 4 am and 6 am – good morning! 🙂
– At 6am, you can take the babies out of their box and put them in a bucket wit a little bit of sea water (not plenty, just small small) for about 10 minutes for them to « wake up ».
– After that, put them on the sand about 15-30 feet away from the ocean so that they can remember the environment on their way to the water.
– PAY ATTENTION TO THE DOGS AND BIRDS – THE BABIES ARE A BELOVED SNACK FOR THEM!
– It may be that not all babies have come out at the same time (you know how many of them are still in the nest because you counted them all before :-)). Wait for two more days and count the babies that are still coming out.
– When there are no more babies coming after two days, you can dig out the remaining eggs and help the babies that may still be in the nest.
– When all babies are gone, it’s time to clean up the nest from the empty egg shells and the dirty sand for the next season.
– Put the used sand far away from the nursery (and the lodge) because it stinks…
– Now you can put « fresh » sand back into the hole and – voilÃ – you’re done!
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