A popular video making the rounds this week (above) shows a time lapse view of loggerhead sea turtles hatching in the Florida Keys. It's such an amazing sight to see these tiny sea creatures emerge and head toward the water. It's a ritual that has gone on for more than 200 million years on beaches all over the world. And just how they do it is as fascinating as watching them. Here are seven facts that you might not have known about loggerhead sea turtles.
1. The typical loggerhead will lay 80 to 120 eggs every two or three years in a hole about 18 inches deep. The turtles take about two months to hatch.
2. A female turtle can travel up to 5,000 miles to return to the beach where she has laid eggs before.
3. The sex of sea turtle hatchlings is determined by the temperature of the sand where eggs are laid. The eggs deepest in the cavity tend to become male. The shallow eggs tend to become females.
4. The babies, usually less than 2 inches in length, have about a 1-in-1,000 chance of surviving the hazardous trek to the water.
5. Florida beaches account for about 300 of the 685 miles of beaches now classified as important to the future of loggerheads.
6. The habitat declaration also includes more than 300,000 square miles of the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, making it the largest critical habitat area in U.S. history.
7. The baby turtles are born instinctively heading for a bright area (the sand and then the surf). That's why communities where nests are prevalent often strongly urge businesses and homes to turn off their lights during mating season so the turtles won't head for the road. Even so, thousands die under car wheels every season.