In Malaysia there is an island known for more sea turtles than virtually anywhere on Earth. Jonathan visits this amazing ecosystem to learn about the life cycle of sea turtles. He is surprised to discover an amazingly complex and competitive environment.
This is an HD upload of a previously released segment.
If you like Jonathan Bird's Blue World, don't forget to subscribe!
You can join us on Facebook!
We head out towards the reefs of Sipadan island. This island is so small that you can walk all the way around it on the beach in an hour. Yet, it has a huge population of sea turtles.
As the school of fish swims away, I spot my first sea turtle—a Green sea turtle swimming over the reef. It wasn’t hard because they’re everywhere. Some are swimming around, while others are napping on and in the reef. Sea turtles actually sleep underwater while holding their breath. A sea turtle can easily hold its breath over an hour!
A few hundred feet away, I find a Hawksbill sea turtle munching on the reef.
She is plucking out tasty sponges and invertebrates that hide in the coral, rather than eat the coral itself. It takes a tough stomach to digest this stuff.
As we circle the island, I can see the tracks left in the sand by females that have climbed the beach to lay their eggs.
It all starts when a male, identified by his long tail, catches up with a cooperative female and courts her.
From the surface, I see the action and I prepare to film it.
The mating has begun, and I quietly approach to film the action.
Mating is not easy for the female sea turtle. She must swim—and rise to breathe—for both of them.
The male's long tail holds the female and fertilizes the eggs, while claws on his front flippers give him the ability to grasp the female's shell.
The commotion doesn't go unnoticed by other males in the area. They flock to the mating pair, which have drifted away from the reef.
Eventually, no less than four additional male turtles arrive to challenge the suitor.
They all try the same techniques and it is starting to wear him down. Meanwhile the female is near exhaustion. The male is only struggling to hold on….the female is struggling to survive.
Hours later, the male has outlasted his rivals. He fertilizes the female's eggs and with luck his genes will continue on.
As if her job weren't hard enough already, the female now faces another tremendous task--to lay the eggs—but it must wait until nightfall.
After the sun sets, I head to the beach in total darkness.
The females come ashore and lay their eggs in the sand.
I have found a turtle hauling herself out of the water, painstakingly clawing her way up the beach to high ground. Although sea turtles live their entire lives in the ocean, they lay their eggs in a nest on the beach.
After the sea turtle reaches an area well above the high tide line, she begins to throw sand around to create a pit.
She's out of her element and vulnerable. The slightest sound or light would frighten her back into the water.
She must stop frequently to catch her breath. Her crushing weight on land literally asphyxiates her.
She begins to dig a hole about 3 feet deep with her rear flippers. The hole doesn't just protect the eggs from predators. The sex of the baby turtles is a function of the incubation temperature. A shallow nest baking in the sun will be too warm and all the babies will be female. A deep one will be too cold and the babies will all be male. Digging to the right depth insures a good mix of males and females.
At last she begins to lay as many as 100 squishy eggs about the size of ping pong balls into the nest. In 2 months, these eggs will hatch and the baby turtles will emerge.
After she has finished laying her eggs, she carefully fills in the hole.
Then she cleverly disguises the exact location of the nest by flinging some sand around.
After two hours of effort, she plods her way laboriously back to the sea, completely exhausted.
Two months later, newly hatched sea turtles race to the sea. Each baby turtle must rush past a gauntlet of predators from land, sky and sea to reach the open ocean. Odds are, only one of these baby sea turtles will survive.
On their journey, the sea turtles must fight their way through the surf, swim across the shallows and then make their way to the open ocean, away from predators on the reef. They won’t return to their home on the reef until they are large enough to be safe—about the size of a dinner plate.
It’s a long and perilous journey but if this sea turtle survives, it may go on to live over a hundred years.
It's quite amazing how each sea turtle eats different things. Greens are vegetarian when adults, though as youngsters dine on tiny fish. Then you have the hawksbills munching at sponges, while leatherbacks chow down on jellyfish. Seatigies want sea turtles to grow in number & stay healthy, so when it comes time to eat them, they're consuming nutritious meat & not rubbish (yep, literally rubbish). Me, I just want them eating real jellyfish rather than fake jellyfish (plastic waste) so we can swim without getting stung!!!
I had a pet turtle when I was a little boy aged 5 and he was a terripin, my mum named him Torkle cos that was the name of one of her uncles but he died very soon cos they don't have very long life spans.
Hi there, I am a turtle lover. As a turtle lover, i can not tolerate the deadliest condition of sea turtle. So i decided to do something for them, so i designed some T-shirt for charity. Buy these T-shirt(link below) to Save the Sea Turtle. These t-shirts are for public awareness and the profit will send to South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue organization. So please support us or share this link to your friends. Happy Turtle Loving. Best Regards.
I LOVE sea turtles. I am an atheist but if I was not I would call sea
turtles my spirit animal. One of the most wonderful experiences of my
life was a friendly sea turtle becoming my companion while I snorkeled
in Hawaii. We parted ways only when I had to leave. A human cannot stay
in the water indefinitely as a turtle can.
i know we have to let the wild take over but i thought of why not keep them until they are a little bit bigger and release them to the wild cause there won't be much of a difference if they're all gonna die out there anyway and only one will survive :(
too bad we can't keep them in captivity cause they won't survive in the wild :(
Wow!both beautiful and fascinating sea turtles! The babies are so cute also why do the female or male needs to hang on the males or female please answer!😅
Poor female turtles or male she or he got bitten😥
I have thousands of Turtle Fossils. It is Great to watch Live Turtles, and ""with this quality of "Dive Video", etc, I can match Forms, species, and pattern. These Fossils kill me..., they are so Beautiful. One ancient Sea Species has a front foot 32" long. TURTLE ISLAND has been found. I speak the truth....Three Meteor Impacts later. The smoking Gun is, "all of These TURTLE remains" .
Cult Film Collective and the Trylon team-up for a can’t miss for film fans Pedro Almodóvar 35mm Double Feature. [TIX] First Ave is insane this week, including the annual Rebel Rebel: Rock for Pussy David Bowie covers benefit for Feline… Continue Reading →
Quick Q+A: George McConnell + SUPERHERO.
As Captain America says in the under-appreciated Age of Ultron, “We have an enhanced in the field.” Not just the field, Cap. Everywhere you look these days Superheroes are flying or speeding or stretching by—in our films, in our art,… Continue Reading →
Whiz Bang Days Celebration.
Bird Town (as we know it) aka Robbinsdale (as you maybe know it) has a proud history of wrasslin’, so we shouldn’t be so surprised to see the high flyin’ brawlers and knuckle sandwich makers and #1 heel Darin Corbin… Continue Reading →
Sat // The Beer & Bacon Classic.
Previous beer fest experiences (and there have been many) indicate the snacklace is reaching an all-time high in sophistication—but you’ll want to leave it at home for this one. Consider it research for your next creation: the Bacon and Beer… Continue Reading →
Bell Museum Grand Opening.
The Bell Museum celebrates nearly 150 years of existence, 50 years of active learning programs, and 24 feet of woolly mammoth at its grand opening this weekend, which welcomes the public to experience its beautifully grandiose new digs in St…. Continue Reading →
Lumières Françaises + Bastile Day.
Did the MSP Film Society know France would be on the cusp of a World Cup win when they planned their week of independent French film? DID THEY? The smarties actually likely scheduled Lumières Françaises to coincide with Sat’s Bastille… Continue Reading →
Weds // TV Girl + Infinity Crush + Cheap Fantasy.
“Here in New York you don’t need excuses to dress like a girl.” The effortless hipster cool of TV Girl’s sound mixes a sunny produced pop, throwback to ’60s French yé-yé, with more relaxed late night beats and samples, making them… Continue Reading →
Thurs // The Summit Ratskeller’s Grand Reopening.