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
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.