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Turtle 101: Meet the Turtles of Mon Repos

Keen to learn a little more about these adorable little guys before you arrive? Then read on for some quick facts about the many turtles who chose to return to Mon Repos every year!

 

Turtle 101: Meet the turtles of Mon Repos

Every year, thousands of tiny turtle hatchings make their way towards the ocean on Mon Repos Beach. The effort required to break free from their shell is just the first of many challenges these tiny critters face as they commence a journey that will span many continents, many times over.
Located 15 kilometres north of Bundaberg, Mon Repos Regional Park is the largest and most accessible turtle rookery on the Australian mainland. Offering the only guided turtle tour on the east coast of Australia, Mon Repos march of tiny turtle hatchlings is an experience that needs to be witnessed to be truly appreciated.

Keen to learn a little more about these adorable little guys before you arrive? Then read on for some quick facts about the many turtles who chose to return to Mon Repos every year!

Turtle 101

Baby sea turtles start at an adorably tiny 5 – 7cm in length – but can grow up to a whopping 2m long, as is the case for the largest breed, the Leatherback Turtle. The smallest sea turtle is the Olive Ridley (also known as the Pacific Ridley) turtle, which grows up to 1m in length.
Sea turtles have an estimated lifespan of 60 – 80 years, though there are a number on record exceeding 100 years!
Sea turtles are omnivorous, meaning they live on a diet of both meat and plant-based foods – just like many humans!

TurtleHatchlingMonRepos

Happy hatchlings

Typically, turtles lay around 130 eggs per clutch (though the number can vary between turtle breeds), returning every two weeks to nest and laying up to four clutches per season.


Clutches are usually laid from November to January each year, with hatchlings making an appearance between January and March.
Turtle hatchlings are greatly influenced by light, which easily disorients them. But don't worry - if you visit Mon Repos, the friendly Parks and Recreation Rangers will help you to understand exactly how you can make the most of your experience, without harming the hatchlings.

TurtleHatchlingsMonRepos

There's no place like home!

Hatchlings use their sprint across the sand as time to imprint the orientation of the Earth's magnetic field. This helps them to lock in the location, allowing them to return to the place they were born, even if they haven't been back in 30 years! This is a 'natal homing' natural phenomenon.
Sea turtles travel tens of thousands of kilometres around the world for the first 20 to 30 years of their life. They then return to the same location where they were born – no matter how far away – when they are ready to nest.

 

 

Help save the turtles!


Out of every 1000 hatchlings you see making their way down the beach, only one will survive to maturity. As a result, six out of seven sea turtle species worldwide are classified as threatened or endangered.

Common dangers for turtles include:

Getting tangled in fishing gear

Poachers capturing them for their eggs, meat or shell

Coastal development

Marine debris - particularly plastic, which turtles can mistake for food and swallow, or become entangled in.

Global warming

Ocean pollution, such as oil spills.

We'd love to introduce you to our next clutch of hatchlings as we help them off to a safe start.  With turtle season just around the corner, now is your chance to say hi!

Meet Cathy Gatley - Queensland Parks Ranger at the...
Ex_HMAS Tobruk

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Wednesday, 15 August 2018

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