The day after a nest hatches, nest excavations are carried out. This is done for two main reasons:
- it allows hatchlings that were unable to make it out of the nest on their own to be released
- it enables the calculation of the success rate of each nest
Not all eggs develop into fully formed live hatchlings. Sometimes eggs are infertile, sometimes eggs fail during development, and sometimes hatchlings suffocate at the bottom of the nest. This happens for nests in the hatchery and for nests incubating naturally on the beach. The success rate of a nest is given as the number of live hatchings out of the nest against the total number of eggs in the nest.
Quantifying the success rate of a nest can be very informative scientifically. As part of my research I am trying to see if there is a relationship between the success rate of a nest and environmental variables such as sand temperature and rainfall.
As well as being scientifically informative, a nest excavation is also an exciting time and attracts many tourists because of the live hatchlings that are excavated from the nests. The opportunity to see wild baby sea turtles is unique. They are quite an amazing sight!