How Big are Turtles When They are Born? – These cuties have our heart from the second they hatch! Turtles fall into the reptilian category. There are 356 different species of Turtles, including those who dwell on land, not to be confused with the tortoise.
How Big are Turtles When They are Born?
How Big are Turtles When They are Born? – What is their actual size? Turtles range in size on a rather drastic scale, with the leatherback turtle measuring 4.9 feet in length and the flattened musk turtle which only measures a mere 4 inches.
The diversity of Turtles is vast, and they are well known for their aquatic habitat. However, some turtles spend their whole lives barely breaching the water. Turtles have also, in recent years, become pets, with the smaller species put in tanks and man-made ponds. However, they are not a common companion and are more so left in the wild where they thrive.
Turtles have hard shells made from bone and cartilage. The top piece is called the carapace, and the bottom is the plastron. The shell grows with the turtle throughout its life as it is unable to live without it. It also does not shed like the majority of other reptiles. There are two main types of turtles which are the hidden neck turtles and the side-necked turtles. They are put in these two groupings due to the way their neck retracts.
The Laying Process of Turtles – How Big are Turtles When They are Born?
The age at which turtles reach maturity to lay eggs varies from species to species. It can be as early as 2 to 3 years of age for smaller turtles and around 3 to 4 years for larger ones. Some only reach maturity at the age of 10. Some turtles can reproduce for 50 years.
Mother turtles will choose the optimal time to lay their eggs which usually be in times with abundant food and the right temperature for the baby’s growth and development. This also depends on the species as some turtles wait for an increase in the time of day, early in rainy seasons, or the end of a dry season.
After mating, the female turtle will migrate to find sand banks or beaches where she can lay her eggs. Some turtles will travel over hundreds of miles to nest, and all aquatic turtles leave the water in order to lay their eggs on the land.
Are Turtles Maternal?
Female turtles will burrow, making a large and deep enough hole to lay their eggs. She will then cover them with either mud, sand, or dirt, depending on the ground and area they have chosen. On average, the eggs will take around 2 months to incubate, but this is also dependent on the species of turtle.
Once the female turtle is finished laying the eggs, she will leave them and head back to where she came from, as her job is now done. Although turtles seem like gentle and docile creatures, they are not maternal, and their hatchlings find their way on their own. The shells of the eggs can be leathery in texture, and each hatchling takes about 20 minutes or sometimes even longer to emerge out of its egg. They have a tooth-like tool called a caruncle that helps them in their hatching process.
An interesting trait that freshwater turtle embryos have is that they are able to community with other unhatched babies to make sure they all hatch around the same time. Any underdeveloped embryos will then speed up their developmental process to ensure they all emerge together.
Once they have broken through, the hatchlings will start their 3 to 7-day journey digging out of their nest. For nutrients, they have sacs attached with everything they will need for their first few days of digging. Once they have successfully reached the surface, many species of hatchlings wait until its night time to make a rushed escape to the water, normally in large numbers, to help avoid any potential predators as they are often preyed upon by many animals.
What Do Turtles Eat?
Surprisingly turtles are omnivores and have even been known to feast on available decaying meat. They eat a variety of vegetation and insects, along with other forms of protein. Some of the items on a turtles menu are;
- Different types of grass
The diet of a turtle will vary due to its species, and this counts for pet turtles as well. It’s important that you speak to a vet to understand the foods you should be giving your specific species of turtle, as they also eat a range of different foods. More commonly, pet turtles eat fish pellets, gut-loaded insects, worms, and commercial turtle pellets. They also enjoy collard greens, kale, and fruits of many kinds, such as apples, bananas, pears, etc.
The lifespan of a Turtle
The age in which a turtle’s lives will depend on its species and environment. Some will only live for 10 to 80 years, while others can live up to 150 years of age.
Sea turtles can live to surpass this, and like whales and sharks, it can be difficult to determine their precise age.
Many pet turtles can outlive their owners, and when deciding to keep one as a companion, it should be known that it will be a lifelong commitment.
In the wild, smaller turtles, and especially juveniles, are on many predators’ dietary lists, which of course, shortens their life. Without the threats of predators, they can live out their decades to their full potential. Larger turtles are much more difficult to prey on due to their size and almost impenetrable shells leaving them to live for up to a century or two.
Hatchling turtles are extremely tiny compared to their elders, the smallest juvenile turtles or only a mere 1 inch in size. The musk turtle hatchling is only slightly bigger than a penny, and they are one of the smallest species of turtle.
The leatherback sea turtle is the largest breed of turtle, measuring almost 6 feet in length; however, when they catch, they are only 2 inches long. It’s incredible to think that something so little will grow up to be a behemoth.
Turtle Talk – How Big are Turtles When They are Born?
Turtles are very small when hatched, measuring only 1 to 2 inches but can grow to be larger than most humans.