You may have seen it in movies or read it in magazines but have you ever experienced an up close look at hatching baby turtles making their way to the sea to begin their new life? It’s something not everyone can boast witnessing but just up the shore from Cerritos Beach during the right time of the year, you may be able to see this incredible scene.
There are three different types of sea turtles that can be found along the shores: Leatherback, Olive Ridley and Black. Leatherbacks nest from October-April, Blacks from September-February while Olive Ridleys nest year round. Depending on the time of year, the hatchlings occur about six to seven times throughout the year so your chances of being a part of this momentous event are fairly high.
Over the years, conservationists have discovered that many sea turtles parish both during nesting and after hatching as they are making their way to the sea. The reason for this is because the turtles use the sand as a sort of incubator to keep the eggs warm, but if the temperatures drop below 26 degrees Celsius, their chances of survival are slim to none.
This is where Tortugueros Las Playitas, an environmental conservation team, comes in and provides a means of life for these baby turtles. They have built an Incubation Greenhouse that is constantly set at 26 degrees Celsius, providing the turtles the perfect temperature during their nesting season. Any eggs laid after October 1st, when temperatures begin to drop, are then placed inside this greenhouse.
After the nesting season, comes the hatchling releases, which begin in November and continue until the month of April. This is the opportunity to witness these small animals hatching and coming to find their way around this new world of theirs. It only takes about two minutes after hatching for these baby sea turtles to get oriented and figure out that they need to start making their way towards the sea.
Because each hatchling release is done around sunset, it’s advised that you bring binoculars and be very respectful of keeping your distance from these newly hatched turtles. It’s not permitted for you to touch them as they are very fragile but even being just a few yards from these creatures can create a moment that will be in your memories for a lifetime.