BOCA RATON, FL. (FOX 13) - It turns out sea turtle hatchlings have much more determination than expected.
When a hatchling begins its first trek out of a nest, experts believe it is attracted to the brightest horizon and the ocean’s surf. But, there are times when they can be distracted.
Artificial lights from nearby buildings and streets can lure hatchlings away from an ocean and toward land. Baby sea turtles have about a 50 percent chance of making it to their destination if in an urban environment. Those who do make it to the water use massive amounts of energy, experts say.
his unfortunate trend prompted a study conducted by Florida Atlantic University researchers to evaluate the energy used by disoriented hatchlings. About 150 hatchlings were collected just as they emerged from 27 loggerhead turtle and 18 green turtle nests on beaches in Palm Beach County.
Tiny treadmills with simulated lighting were used to measure their stamina, in which the hatchlings did follow the light. After, they swam in a small tank using a specially-designed swimsuit that measured the hatchlings’ breathing rates, stroke rates and oxygen consumption.