Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Turtle Life Part 2: Early June

Now it is early June.  Your nest (luckily) was not sniffed out by a hungry predator, and you remain safely buried in the soil.  At this point, you chances of being found by a predator or very low, they mostly find only fresh nests.  However, about 70% of the nests around you were discovered and destroyed.  For the coming months, the most important thing for you is how wet and how warm your little spot in the soil is.  Mom chose a very sunny site to dig your nest.  There is very little shade on the south or west side of the nest, so your nest is very exposed in the hot afternoon sun.  Compared to most of the places around, your nest is relatively very warm.  However, more important than how shady your nest is, is just the weather itself.  You develop more quickly when its warm, but development slows down when its cool.  If your nest is very warm, you may hatch in early August, but if its a cool summer, you might not hatch until September. 

Your mom left you all the yolk you need to grow, but she didn't give you all the water you may need.  Unlike a bird egg, that has a shell that water cannot permeate, your leathery soft egg shell can absorb (or lose) water. If your nest is very moist, your egg will swell up, and may even allow help you be bigger when you hatch.  However if it floods, you won't be able to survive.  And if it is very dry, it may make growth difficult or even kill you.  So hopefully your mom's nest is about the right temperature and about the right moisture for proper development. 

As you have heard, nest temperature will determine whether you will be a boy or a girl. But the critical time for sex determination (known as the thermosensitive period) will not begin quite yet.  Once you are about one third of the way through your development, tempertature will begin to be important, but that is still a few weeks away.

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