The Arrival of Sea turtles

Coastal Life: The Arrival of Sea Turtles

Coastal Life: The Arrival of Sea Turtles: During the course of the day, dark, round shadows appear in the shallow inshore waters off beaches on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. They are not inanimate rocks but living Olive Ridley ufabet sea turtles, and for several hours they sit motionless on the seabed, resting, maybe even asleep, conserving energy prior to a coming event that will require a herculean effort.

The Arrival of Sea Turtles

The Arrival of Sea turtles

By early evening, they begin to stir. They swim parallel to the shore, their small heads bobbing above the surface to catch a breath, before submerging for five minutes or so at a time as if preparing for the big moment. Then, at some unknown signal, they start to emerge from the sea, changing from animals that are totally at home in the water to animals that are very uncomfortable on land.

At first, there are just twenty or thirty hauling their heavy bodies out of the surf, but gradually numbers increase until the beach resembles a moving conveyor belt of round, grey boulders. Many thousands of turtles will be crossing the ufabet beach and throughout the night they will just keep coming because they have to.

Sea turtles are an ancient group of reptiles that are still bound to the land for this one vital purpose – to lay their eggs – so mothers must cross the frontier between land and sea and, for several exhausting hours, leave the confines of the ocean. It’s a huge challenge, but despite the hardships, the rewards are worth it.

These female sea turtles have come to deposit their eggs in the black, volcanic sand. It is known locally as the arribada (‘arrival’), and it is probably one of the most traumatic things a female sea turtle has to do during her life. More used to being supported by the water, her heavy body pushes down painfully on her internal organs, including her lungs.

Manoeuvring her bulk over the hollow, she lets out a huge sigh, and slowly and deliberately she deposits up to 100 eggs, each the size of a ufabet ping-pong ball. Then, using her front flippers, she covers them and, with one last gargantuan effort, hauls her body back to the sea.

Black vultures, wood storks and great-tailed grackles are in the vanguard, and this is their moment. They squabble for the exposed nests, some even snatching the soft-shelled eggs at the very moment they are laid. Coatis, recognised by their erect, striped tails and long snouts, dig up buried eggs.

Stray dogs and feral pigs join them, rooting around in the sand, yet there is plenty for all. During the course of a single arribada over several days, hundreds of thousands of females emerge from the sea, and they deposit tens of millions of eggs safely beyond the reach of the tide.

Coastal Life: The Arrival of Sea Turtles

When the mothers go back to the sea, they all head off their separate ways. Olive Ridley sea turtles are more at home in the open ocean alone ufabet than on the shore with thousands of others of their own kind, but before they hit deep water they must run a gauntlet of sharks and American crocodiles from a nearby estuary.