As a mom to an enthusiastic 4 year old , I am always on the look out for fun and educational things to do with her. I was intrigued when I recently came upon some turtle videos online and on finding out more I learnt that there are turtle hatcheries in our very own Chennai. 5 years here and I had no clue about this. But better late than never. As soon as I got an opportunity I reserved a few spots and got a friend and her daughter to tag along as well.
In this post I will talk about our experience and a little bit of what we learned.
Registration : First things first, call volunteer Youssef : 7338837283 or Edward : 9840254762 from Save the Turtle and get yourself a spot to be a part of this turtle releasing activity.
Where : They are at Besant Nagar Beach, near the broken bridge. This wasn’t difficult to find. Take the lane going down from Thalapakkati Biriyani and keep going further on your left. Take a sturdy car, because you’ll be driving on the beach. We really couldnt control our girls’ excitement on seeing the beach while we were driving down 😀
When : Turtles usually get attracted to light and move in that direction. So, to send them to their home (the ocean), the volunteers wait for sunset. It’s also safe because the chances of active predators in the sea are less post sunset. Our time slot was 5.30 to 6.15 -This included a brief on the whole exercise, the do’s and don’ts about the releasing of the turtles.
Few interesting facts:
- The mother turtle nests her eggs at the shore. She digs through the sand, lays about a 100 plus eggs, covers it and leaves. Sadly, she never sees her babies.
- This nest is uprooted by the volunteers and hatched in the hatchery for a period of approximately 45 – 60 days post which the babies are born and ready to go where they belong.
- The gender of the unborn turtles depends on the temperature of the nest. Temperatures above 28 degrees makes female babies and below makes male babies
- While going in the sea, the turtles study the shore , register it in their minds and come back to the same shore to nest their eggs.
- The yolk sac keeps the babies full for about 48 hours which gives them enough time to survive and look for more food as they get into the ocean.
- The best time of the year to witness this activity is March to April end. While there are many species of the turtles that the volunteers will tell you about, the only kind that nest on the Chennai shore is the Olive Ridley turtle.
The above facts are just a few that I captured. The volunteers are more than happy to educate you more if you have any questions.
Our 3 year olds were extremely delighted with the beach and the baby Olive Ridleys except that they were a little glum about their ‘Mumma’ not being there. They did get over it quickly and now they want to see peacocks 😀 Sigh!
This is just one of the things to do with kids in Chennai. Stay hooked for some more coming soon 🙂
Moina is an enthusiastic Mom to two pretty girls. Apart from blogging, she loves to cook, travel, write, paint and contribute to her environment in whatever way possible. Originally from Mumbai, Moina now lives in Chennai with her family.
** We thank Sruthi, our photographer who accompanied us to capture this experience. We thank ‘Save the turtle’ for being actively responsive to our queries.