While the number varies by species, sea turtles lay between 50 and 200 eggs in each nest and build three to seven nests each mating season. In eastern Florida, sea turtles lay 150,000 pounds of eggs, each about the size of a ping-pong ball, in a 20-mile stretch of sand.
Turtle eggs have a leathery outer covering that protects them from breaking as the female deposits them in the nest. The female covers the nest with sand to protect the eggs from predators and prevent drying of the eggs. The sun provides the necessary heat for them to hatch. The eggs do not all hatch and entire nests sometimes fail. Once they hatch, only the strongest of the offspring are able to return to the ocean.