Leatherback Turtle Lays Eggs

Trip Start Dec 07, 2004
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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Guanacaste,
Thursday, December 16, 2004


    We watched a giant leatherback turtle dig a hole in the sand and lay her eggs!    We started waiting at 6 pm when it got dark until a park worker radioed us at 2 am  "tortuga!  tortuga!"  which is when the excitement began. 


    Our family and about 10 other people walked down the beach to experience this incredible sight.  We were so close that we could touch her and feel the leather-like shell.  We could see 70-100 eggs leave her body cavity and drop about a foot into the hole that she had dug. 
We were allowed to speak, but we could not have flashlights, cameras, etc.  This is surreal!


    Lights on beaches are what stop turtles from coming on shore, so when hotels and resorts build on a beach, that is often what stops these endangered animals from reproducing.  Our hotel created a berm between the ocean and itself, so that hotel lights cannot be seen from the beach.  This is one of the last places on earth where these gigantic creatures still lay eggs.  There used to be hundreds of turtles nesting each night, but now there may be 0-3 per night.
   
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