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Published on Monday, January 8, 2018

Baby Sea Turtle Treadmills

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The march of thousands of tiny newly-hatched sea turtles to the sea is an astonishing phenomenon that occurs on many beaches around the world. These baby turtles are faced with challenging trials right out of the egg including rough terrain that can potentially trap them, predators waiting to pounce on them, and crashing waves that can drown them. However, they are born with one instinct that allowed them to survive for millions of years - to follow the light on the horizon.


The moon or the sun on the horizon help the turtles navigate their way to the sea. However, over time city lights have added an extra factor that has led to hundreds of sea turtle casualties. Some turtles would often be drawn to city lights leading them to walk in the complete opposite direction for hours. Some of these turtles often end up falling in the sewer, being squashed by a car or even lost in the city. To test these turtles’ abilities to endure, even in the wrong direction, scientists built a little sea turtle treadmill and swimming pool. Even after hours of marching on the treadmill these sea turtles could still complete a two hour swimming test. These strong independent hatchlings can find their way to the sea, live a life without parenting, and somehow find their way back to the same beach to hatch their eggs after many years. Without a clear path to the sea, though, hundreds if not thousands could perish every year due to human activities.

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Author: AThompson

Categories: Blogs, Research, Animals & Wildlife, Videos, Research, Animals & Wildlife

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