Friday, December 04, 2009

Life Is Hard

This is an interesting video link about effects of climate change on the world wide declining sea turtle population I discovered after publishing this piece. The "saving sea turtles one nest at a time" appeared in a NYTimes Nov. edition, video runs about 5 mins. with a brief introductory commercial.

A few months ago my daughter sent me photos of newly hatched baby turtles racing for their lives to the Atlantic Ocean's protection. Airborne predators were circling above their South Carolina beach sand covered nest and pathway but were discouraged from attacking by human presence. Once the hatchlings were in the water other unseen sea creatures with which they would later have to contend were probably present awaiting to confront these naive innocents. Or, do you suppose they're genetically predisposed to instinctively know danger awaits them there?

My daughter and granddaughter happened on the end of the scurrying turtle babes exodus from their nest describing all this to me. The only short video they were able to make is at the end of this piece. The other videos depicting the activity I selected from the Internet.

I think this must be an exciting event to witness happening. I've always been intrigued watching baby chicks emerge from their eggs as well as piglets, puppies, kittens and other animals birthing. I was motivated to view some baby turtle YouTube videos I enjoyed and will share a few here.

When the baby turtles begin to hatch from their eggs, then leave the nest the activity is referred to as "boiling."

Here's a short video of one baby hatching that reportedly took over 20 minutes to escape the egg.

The baby turtles receive care and assist of individuals designated to help protect the various endangered species as can be seen in one of the videos. Enabling survival of turtles along those east coast areas is an organized activity in which designated coastal residents and other regular residential visitors engage. The adult female returns yearly to perpetuate the species. These little hatchlings who survive will return here to lay their eggs. This is why it is so important they be allowed to struggle from their nest, through the sand and across the treacherous beach imprinting the pathway in their brains for their return trip when adults.

Loggerhead Sea Turtles -- official reptile of South Carolina -- protected as an endangered species.

I recall seeing a television program years ago documenting ocean turtles challenges for survival, their mothers nesting, laying of eggs and the little ones cycle to adulthood. The Pacific Ocean's Green Sea Turtle is also endangered. My memory from that program is still haunted by the vision of sea gulls, frigate birds swooping down from the sky to grab in their talons these tiny defenseless baby turtles plodding as fast as their little legs could carry them toward the ocean's waters.

This is one of the helpers my daughter's short video shows trying to keep the hatchling from being washed back on the beach.

I've never observed this fascinating turtle event, but perhaps some of you who live near the ocean locations, vacation, or visit turtle nesting sites have.


  1. Certainly your post is appropriately titled for your given subject. I have seen a couple of nature documentaries featuring the birth of these turtles and the waiting predators. These sea turtles are amazing creatures.

    Although the turtles themselves may never appreciate the acts of your daughter and grandchild in their rescue efforts, every now and then I think Mother Nature can stand a little human intervention. :)

  2. Nature can be cruel and I am squeamish and dislike having to watch a predator kill their prey. That's why I never watch the nature channel. I know it's survival of the best of the species and without it the world would be overrun with critters. I just don't like watching it.

  3. Alan G: Only trained authorized helpers are permitted to assist these endangered species turtles. My dtr and granddtr were only observers as were most of the other people there.

    Darlene: Understand your being repelled by the ways of nature and can't say I ever enjoy watching the actual "survival of the fittest" action. Then, I think of we humans, especially meat eaters, and we're no different. It's just that for most of us we have someone else do our butchering, dressing the creatures and we are further removed from the process.

  4. I don't enjoy it either, Jo but I guess we're stick with it. It really is too bad.

    (I just hope our Buckeyes are 'the fittest' on New Year's Day)

  5. Kay: This seems to be the method our world has to maintain balance between all the various species -- a complicated dominance, dependence relationship. Over-population is generally controlled so the ecosystem can survive for we humans who may well be the worst threat to our Earth's survival.

    Yes! Let's hope the Buckeyes are playing their best game New Year's Day in the Rose Bowl as I'll bet that Oregon team will be hyped to win.

  6. I have a hard time with how nature operates and even worse if we are having a global climate shift that wild creatures cannot anticipate nor protect themselves from. The whole business of instinct and how the hatchlings can know to do what they must, well it's amazing.

  7. I'm like Darlene...I get very squeamish watching those really bothers me. I know we have to maintain a balance in Nature; believe me I understand the whole theory around it...I just can't take watching one animal devouring another. My son and I watch the Discovery Channel all the time, and we watch a lot of these kind of shows...he laughs every time I have to turn away....Cripes...I worked for Discovery their video education; which is a branch of Discovery Channel, and it still bothers me. ~Joy

  8. Rain: Yeah, I agree about the frustration over creature loss with any climate change. Looks like we may experience the beginning first hand experience of what we've only read about as theoretical scientific descriptions of permanent species becoming extinct.

    Joy: I look away, too, with some of those nature in action scenes. I have to be in a certain frame of mind to view the shows in the first place. Sometimes I don't want to watch them at all. I don't care for viewing the programs that are focused specifically on just the fighting and killing.

  9. This is so fascinating and I agree it's awful to see any living thing become food or victim of another it was interesting to see the videos of the hatching turtles never knew they were laid in sand..

    Dorothy fromg rammology

  10. I've never seen this either...But it sure is interesting, though very painful to watch. Life is a struggle for every living thing, it seems. OY!

  11. Dorothy: Seems as though there's always something new to learn about the other creatures with whom we share our Earth, or even some still being discovered we never even knew existed.

    OldOldLady: I like to think all creatures have their pleasurable times sprinkled amidst the ups and downs of life. The baby turtles physical struggles in hatching, then making that beach trek to the ocean is also importantly strengthening muscles for ocean swimming, probably. Turtle aerobics or jogging workouts, you think???