What is an excavation?
Sea turtles actually hatch from the egg 1-3 days before they emerge from the nest cavity. Once they emerge, they make their way to the sea. Once a nest has emerged, we wait 3 days to give all the hatchlings an opportunity to make it out of the nest on their own. On day 3 after an emergence, we dig into the nest, excavate it, to take an inventory of the contents. We count all the empty egg shells (shards), the unhatched eggs, and any hatchlings that may be trapped of dead in the nest. This is an excavation. The nests we dig into at this event have already hatched and emerged on their own. We are just taking an inventory. Once we complete our inventory, we return the contents back into the nest, except for any live hatchings, which we release near the shore.
What will you see at an excavation?
You will see the contents of the nest, shards, unhatched eggs, live and/or dead hatchlings remaining in the nest.
When are excavations held?
We excavate nests in the early morning or late evening.