The Universe and Me

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Terrapin Station

Bill and Alice have been up visiting this week. The Carolina sun has bleached her hair rather blonde. She’s still enjoying being on the turtle patrol which she says is a very big thing there. Sea turtles flipper their way to the upper part of the beach by the dunes where they build their nests. Eggs the size of ping pong balls take about sixty days to hatch. The hatchlings stay in the nest for several days, then they need to work their way to the ocean. That’s where “nest parents” enter the picture. It’s their job to help keep the pathway clear. A newborn turtle can become stranded and die in so much as a footprint in the sand. And if the adult turtles, some of whom weigh in at a whopping 300 pounds, flip on their backs, they can’t straighten themselves out. Nest parents look for the unusual tracks in the sand that flippers make, then monitor the turtles' progress.


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