3 min read
Maybe you discovered, just I did when I watch a documentary about sea turtles, that they seem to cry when they lay eggs on the land. You can see tears in their eyes when they lay eggs. This fact surprised me, and I start wondering, Why do sea turtles cry when they lay eggs?
Although it appears that sea turtles cry when they lay eggs, they don't. It indeed seems like they cry, but they flush sand and salt from their eyes. Sea turtles have a gland in each eye that helps them to maintain the right balance of salt in their bodies. This gland is called a "Salt Gland".
They live in salt water, and their kidneys are less efficient than the ones mammals have; therefore, turtles cannot produce urine with a higher concentration of salt than the seawater they drink regularly. And those glands we were talking about previously, situated in their eyes, help them to avoid poisoning themselves with salt buildup.
Do you wonder how they do so? Through the tears produced, the glands pump salt ions into their tears. So, if you were wondering, just I did, Why do sea turtles cry when they lay eggs, now you have found the answer. They are not emotional tears, but a natural response of their organism, to keep the right balance of salt in the body.
Also, I found out through my research that they don't cry only when they lay eggs, but also in water. They appear to do so only on land because it is the only time when we can discover this, observing them more closely than in the sea. But the truth is that they are doing so all the time, being a natural and healthy process for them.
A sea turtle will lay eggs only on the shore. In the last weeks of gestation, the turtle will come to the land and use its legs to dig a nest, in which it will deposit the eggs. Therefore, in those weeks, she will spend more time on the land and less time in the sea. The process of finding the perfect spot for laying the eggs is complex and requires time. They prefer a sunny spot with sandy soil to make an adequate nest for their babies. An interesting fact that I found out is that, if the weather is too warm, the sea turtle delays the process of digging the nest for a few days or even weeks, until the weather is suitable for laying the eggs, colder. Also, scientists have discovered that turtles use to lay eggs in the same time and place every time. The nesting process takes up to a few hours, and after the eggs are laid, the sea turtle's job as a mother is finished. She will get back in the water, letting the babies survive on their on from now on.
It might be an emotional response to motherhood, or maybe they are in pain? I just needed to find the reasons. So, I have begun researching this subject, and I found out interesting facts about this weird behavior. Let's find out more.
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