Have you ever seen a sea turtle nest hatch? Or even more rare, have you ever seen a sea turtle dig a spot and lay her nest?
Well several of us who work at BoxDog have been lucky enough to witness both! It left such an impression, we decided to dedicate some of the items in our BoxDog Miami Edition to the sea turtles, including our gourmet frosted turtle cookies and Tuffy the Turtle.
There are plenty of sites out there where you can learn about the species and nesting habits of sea turtles, including the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission or VisitFlorida.
We're going to describe one of our staff's first hand experiences with a leatherback sea turtle female:
"Sea turtles lay eggs usually in the dead of night, when it's extremely quiet. Many people have witnessed the nest hatching, but it's so rare to see the nest actually being laid. We were taking the dogs to the bathroom at 4am, and we saw sand flying in both directions. It was extremely dark, so we had to adjust our eyes. And then we saw HER. She was absolutely HUGE - easily more than 500 pounds. If you can believe it, the dogs did not bark at her and stayed dead silent (we quickly took them back inside but the fact that they were so quiet when they sensed her was amazing). We have no idea how much she weighed, but we were later told she was likely a leatherback turtle based on her reported size and the size of the nest she laid. Over the course of 45 minutes, she used her flippers and kicked sand what seemed like a dozen feet in the air. Her strength was amazing. She didn't seem bothered by our presence, but we kept very still and quiet. Once she was done laying the eggs, she buried the nest well. Then she proceeded to work her way back to the ocean. She was so big (and probably tired) it was a very slow process. The tracks she left in the sand with her flippers were so wide, it was incredible. Once we inspected the nest, we found that it was packed very firm and it looked almost like the pitcher's mound on a baseball field (built up a little). There were definitely no animals that were going to be able to get into her nest - she made sure of that. And then off she went back into the moonlight. You could hear the sploosh sploosh sound as she waded back into the water. What a night we will never forget!"
If you want to support the sea turtles in South Florida, one of our favorite places to visit and donate is The Turtle Hospital.