Dead hawksbill sea turtle hatchling, about 5-10 hours old. Out of a nest of 100-120 eggs buried in a nest under 60cm of sand, up to 70% or so will hatch; of those, several inevitably die in the nest, too weak or malformed to dig their way out like the others. This was one of 5 dead hatchlings unearthed while excavating a translocated nest to evaluate hatching success.

Taken in July of 2010 at Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates



this woman’s work

Female Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) returning to the sea after nesting in a small cove on the Sir Bu Nair Island off the U.A.E. coast. Most sea turtles nest at night, so this was a rare and fortunate sighting.

Hawksbills lay about 100 eggs in a nest dug in the sand, and may nest up to 7 times in a season. The eggs lie buried for 45-60 days before they hatch. Hatchlings dig their way out of the sand and make immediately for the sea. The males will never return to land again. After 15-20 years, adult females will return to the beaches where they were born to lay their own eggs.

Taken during nesting season of 2010 on the sea turtle monitoring programme I helped start for the Sharjah Environmental authorities.