Q:

How do sea turtles reproduce?

A:

Quick Answer

Sea turtles reproduce through mating and laying eggs. Males and females mate in the water, and the females go to the shore to lay their eggs.

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Full Answer

Different species of sea turtles reach sexual maturity at different ages. Hawkbill turtles may reach sexual maturity as early as 3 years old, whereas green sea turtles can take as many as 50 years to reach maturity.

Sea turtles spend most of their lives at sea. When the breeding season begins, male and female turtles move to shallower waters near the shore to court and mate. The breeding season usually takes place sometime between late spring and early summer. Males migrate to breeding waters earlier than females. Males and females court before mating, and females often court more than one male. Females mate every 3 to 4 years, while males can mate every year.

Once they have mated, the females move to the shore, usually to the same beaches where they previously nested. They dig holes in the sand to lay their eggs and cover the eggs to protect them. Females can lay up to 200 eggs at one time. After laying their eggs, females return to the sea. The eggs take 2 months to hatch. After hatching, young baby turtles crawl into the sea.

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