Hello! My name is Ms. Elebash . Please join me as I travel to Costa Rica to study sea turtles!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

First New Year Sighting!

What happened right in front of the hatchery!!

Sophie and I were swimming. I came out of the water to greet Jacob and Kim who were coming for a dip when they looked down and there she was digging! I looked down and there she was digging!

I ran up to the house and alerted the rest of the gang and when I came back Jacob Hill and Tera were working with her.

She was an olive ridley, who can sometimes nest in the afternoon or morning. They are much smaller than leatherbacks and more numerous. As we watched about 30 people came around. Watching her dig and lay was fascinating in the light of day. Every time she contracted, the edges of her right flipper would quiver and then the eggs would drop. Jacob Hill counted. I think there were about 68 or so...can't remember, but more than the leatherbacks. He also put in a thermo-coupler so the nest could be monitored. Tera is researching them for her masters.

As she lay, she began to get hot. You can see the pink flush under her neck. Towards the end of laying, she would raise her head like you see here. In the beginning it was down. Her eyes were closed the whole egg-laying time until she began to cover, then she opened them. I was intrigued how far forward they were because I had in my mind's eye that they were more sideways looking. Kim says they are built for when she comes up for air, she sees the horizon.

This ridley had not been tagged yet so you can see Tera crimping a tag on to her right shoulder. She did it after the girl had finished laying and was starting to cover. Tera had to squeeze the crimping tool as hard as she could. The turtle did not flinch or seem to respond to the process.

The Year of the Rabbit turtle heads back to sea. She booked it.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! How amazing! Is this kind of turtle suffering the same environmental threats as the Leatherback turtles? Why do they lay their eggs in the daytime as opposed to the night time? I can't wait to hear all about your trip.

    Ms. Alonso