Leather back Turtles, Trinidad

Karen with a leather back turtle We had an amazing experience last night. We went with Jesse James of Members Only Maxi Taxi to Matura Beach to see the leather back turtles come on shore to lay eggs. Matura Beach is a 2 hour drive from Chaguaramas and we stopped on the way for dinner. Just as we arrived at the beach we were informed by Nature Seekers Inc., the group that patrols the beach nightly during nesting season, that a turtle was on her way out of the water. Leather back turtle, TrinidadWe hurried down to see the show. And what a show it was!
Leather back turtle, Trinidad Our turtle was 5 ft 2 in in lengthalong its shell and weighed about 800 lbs. They estimate weight by the length and width of the turtle. This was a new turtle to the Nature Seekers so they tagged her. They also put a tracking devices on some turtles. The process of coming out of the water, choosing a spot to lay the eggs, laying the eggs (during which we were allowed to take photos), burying the eggs, and then disguising the nest took about 2 hrs.
Richard with a leather back turtleThe turtles are about 25 years old when they start laying eggs. They return to the beach where they were born. The year they start laying eggs, they create 5 or 6 nests that season with a 3 to 5 day period between each nesting. Each nest has between 80 and 120 eggs. We were told only 1 or 2 turtles per nest survive to maturity. The females usually nest every 3 to 4 years but continue for their entire life; they can live to 90.

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