On August 8th at about 9:30 p.m. on the beach at Jaguar Reef, Shelly, a mature loggerhead head, returned to her natal beach and nested. Female sea turtles are known to leave the ocean only to lay eggs, they most commonly nest at night. A female may nest every two to three years.
Nesting can take between one and three hours. After a female turtle drags herself up the beach, she hollows out a pit with her back legs and deposits from fifty to two hundred eggs the size of golf balls. When the last egg is laid, the turtle covers the eggs with sand, tamps down the sand with her plastron, and flings more sand about with her flippers to erase any signs of the nest.
Shelly chose the beautiful beach in front of The Paddle House Restaurant; it is believed that turtles return to nest on the very same beach where they hatched. As it was right in the middle of dinnertime, she was observed crawling around on the sand until she found a comfortable spot to lay her eggs. Our guests who were dining were delighted to see this beautiful creature and watched in amazement the natural process of nesting. This took about three hours and after Shelly covered her eggs, she went back into the lovely waters of the Caribbean Sea.
The incubation period is approximately sixty days. Hatchlings will dig their way up through the sand towards the surface and wait just beneath the last layer of sand until nightfall and cooler temperatures, before popping the rest of the way out and scurry toward the sea.
Loggerheads are on the endangered species list; management and staff at Jaguar Reef are avid conservationists, and are doing all that they can to ensure that as many of the little hatchlings have a chance at life.
The staff at The Lodge at Jaguar Reef are on Turtle Hatch Watch!