The Turtle Hospital. Rescue, Rehab, Release.

Sea Turtle Migration

The different species of sea turtles have developmental migration patterns. After they are born and they crawl to the water, and then they must swim to the Sargasso Sea. There they find patches of grasses and other stuff floating together at the surface of the water. This habitat provides them food and shelter to grow. They will spend a couple of years growing until they are about the size of a dinner plate.

Then they migrate back to different areas. Here the turtles will find another habitat. Green sea turtles prefer shallow grass beds because they prefer a herbivore diet. Loggerheads migration happens over different stages; they tend to spend more time traveling the currents. Hawsksbills tend to head towards coastal reefs. Except Leatherbacks, they prefer the open ocean.

Once these turtles get bigger they will sometimes do daily migrations. During the day they will head toward shallower waters to feed, and then at night head to deeper waters to find shelter to rest.

Some sea turtles are seasonal travelers. They like to find their food up north during summer months. These same turtles will then travel south for the winter where the water is much warmer.

Once the females become adults, every few years they will then migrate to the beach they were born, this is called their natal beach. There they will mate in the waters just offshore. Then at night, they will make their way to the beach to deposit eggs. After several weeks of laying multiple nests she will head off to find another habitat.

Many biologists will attach satellite trackers to the shell of a turtle. This provides wonderful data, of forging ground, and their migration patterns.

Satellite tracking map of Coco, one of our loggerhead patients. Each dot represents one day.

So boaters be aware that adult turtles tend to hang just off shore during nesting season. Nesting season typically runs May-October in Florida.

Comments are closed.