Arrival at the beach
Like any other sea turtles the leatherback sea turtle starts their lives as hatchlings bursting their nest. While other sea turtles always goes back to where they were hatch the leatherback female can switch to different beaches within the same region they were hatched. They choose to nest on a soft sand since their shells and plastrons are soft and can easily be damaged if it’s a rocky shore.
The Nest and eggs
The females arrive at the beach on the night high tide. Leatherbacks are quick in the water but are extremely slow on land. With her front flippers she drags herself up on the beach. When she finds a suitable place for a nest she digs a nest with her back flippers. This behavior, scattering the sand will disguise from predators. The nesting hole is just over 1 meter deep. One female can lie at least 100 -150 eggs and 85% are viable. The eggs weigh just under 50 g and are around 10 centimeters.
The cleavage of the cells begins within fertilization but is suspended during the gastrulating (the germ layers of an embryo are formed and the body plan of the mature organism is established) and enfolding of embryonic cells while eggs are laid. Development resumes (fully develops during 20 – 25th days of incubation) when it’s done its structural differentiation of body and organs. The eggs hatch in about 60 – 70 days. As with other reptiles its ambient temperature determines the sex organ of the hatchlings.
The Leatherback hatchlings
After they are hatch, they become prone to predators and are in danger. Sea birds love sea turtles they look like tiny fishes with large flippers and hatchlings are soft with yolk in their abdomen that is favorite food nutrients for the predators. As the hatchling survives from inland predators to sea predators.
The Leatherback Sea Turtle today
After nightfall the hatchlings will start its journey and dig their way to the surface and make their way to the sea. Leatherback sea turtle are a global species so their nesting varies from any season place-to-place. One thing that is amazing about leatherback turtles are that after laying eggs the ambient temperature of the sand will determine the embryonic development. The temperature that incubates the eggs will vary in the positioning of the egg the inner core is prone to be males because the temperature is way hotter than the upper level of formation. The embryonic formation usually occurs during the 5th day of laying the eggs. There is increasing evidence that a PCB (polychlorinated biphenyl) compounds are capable of disrupting the reproductive functions of sea turtles.
No reverse gear
The leatherback sea turtle is not easily kept in captivity. They are born in an open sea and don’t have reverse gear that will stop them from swimming from any obstacle in their path in short you can’t breed using an artificial sea farm. The breeding beaches of the leatherback turtle are mainland sites that face deep water. Breeding usually occurs on the coastal waters. Since males won’t leave the water once they enter it during hatchlings. Female’s mates every 2 – 3 years. Mating occurs after the age of 10, the mating occurs when a female possibly exudes a pheromone to signal her reproductive urge as a result males will uses head movements, nuzzling, biting or flipping to signal a sexual intercourse.