Sea Turtle Life Cycle
Females who are ready to nest will emerge from the Gulf after sunset and seek out a suitable nesting location. She will dig a nest with her back flippers and lay up to 120 eggs. Once all her eggs are laid, she will bury the nest and carefully cover her tracks before making her way back into the Gulf.
After about 60 days, the hatchlings will emerge all at once and race for the Gulf of Mexico. Predators like seagulls, ghost crabs and raccoon line up to try and grab hatchlings before they make it to the water. For the males, this will be the only time they will touch dry land. If they make it to the water, they will spend the rest of their lives at sea.
Once safely in the Gulf, hatchlings will spend the next several days in a "swimming frenzy." This will get them away from dangerous nearshore waters and into open water. Here they will spend the next decade hiding and feeding in floating mats of algae and growing big enough to avoid most predators.
Once about 10 years old, turtles will return to nearshore areas, where they will spend the rest of their lives migrating between nearshore foraging areas and offshore breeding grounds. When they reach sexual maturity (10-25+ years) females will return to the beaches they hatched from to lay their own eggs and begin the cycle all over again.