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Animal Behavior Study

Sofia Romero Campbell

Period 2
Hypothesis Development I:

Laying and Burying the Eggs

When the turtle has finished digging the egg

chamber, she begins to lay eggs. Two or three eggs
drop out at a time, with mucus being secreted
throughout egg-laying. The average size of a clutch
ranges from about 80 to 120 eggs, depending on the
species. Because the eggs are flexible, they do not
break as they fall into the chamber. This flexibility
also allows both the female and the nest to hold
more eggs. Nesting sea turtles appear to shed tears,
but the turtle is just secreting salt that accumulates in her body. Many people believe
that while laying her eggs a sea turtle goes into a trance from which she cannot be
Source: Sea Turtle Conservancy

-Sea turtles lay large amounts of eggs because young hatchlings experience numerous obstacles
once they are born, this includes predators and death from consuming trash.
-Sea turtle mothers cover the eggs in layers of sand after giving birth so that the eggs can be well
fertilized and protected from predators.

Alternative Hypothesis and Predictions II:

Hypothesis Predictions

Why do sea turtles Who benefits? Why do they Should all Predator response Immediate effect
lay so many eggs? benefit? individuals use to laying habits? on mother sea
these laying turtle?

Predators can take None. Mother

advantage of so leaves nest and
More chance for Entire sea turtle Larger population Yes, so that they
many young doesnt interact
hatchling survival population at birth=more can increase the
vulnerable turtles. with any of her
chance of survival chance of survival
young offspring.
with limiting for young sea
obstacles turtles.

Predators have None. Mother

more trouble leaves nest and
Covering up eggs in Entire sea turtle Larger population Yes, so that they
locating and doesnt interact
sand population at birth=more can increase the
preying on young with any of her
chance of survival chance of survival
sea turtles when young offspring.
with limiting for young sea
they are covered.
obstacles turtles.
How can we discriminate between these competing hypotheses?
-One hypothesis focuses more on the reason that a mother sea turtle would want to lay so many
eggs, while the other is more centered on the nesting habits that continue to aid the large
population of hatchlings so that they have the highest chance of survival. These hypotheses are
conflicting because one is more related to a cause while the other is related more to an outcome.
We can discriminate between the two hypotheses by understanding both have a positive impact
on the overall population of sea turtles, but the behavior of laying eggs in larger numbers is the
main behavior that generates the purpose of the resulting behavior (covering up the eggs in the

Experimental Results III:

What conclusions can you draw from the data?
What conclusions can you draw from the data?
From this data I can conclude that the more nests a female sea turtle creates, the more successful
her offspring will be at survival. Additionally, as humans have become more invasive in the
habitat and laying process of sea turtles, in recent years conservation efforts have helped to
stabilize the sea turtle population and further protect them from human and animal dangers. This
focus helps to increase the sea turtle population and boost the survival rate for young hatchlings
by supporting natural laying habits.

Conclusions IV:
Why might this be?
Female sea turtles and sea turtles in general are solitary creatures and do not nurture their young
into adulthood. Therefore, it is especially important for them to produce large amount of eggs
when nesting and to cover them thoroughly for protection against predators. These maternal
behaviors when nesting are important in the success of any animals nesting time, however
because of the sea turtles behavior, this nesting strategy/behavior increases the likelihood of
offspring living to adulthood.

1. How do these data compare to your predictions?

This data supported my predictions that larger populations of hatchlings would produce
more successful turtles. However, I had predicted it had to do with larger nesting
populations not larger amounts nests. Also, I did not account for the increase human aide
that has given rise to sea turtle populations as a result of supporting these normal
2. Why would female sea turtles use unique nesting methods and then leave their
Sea turtles getting ready to nest must be thoughtful about how and when they lay. For that
reason, it makes sense that they would lay so many eggs and then try hard to protect them
by covering them up in the sand. Additionally, it must also be taken into account the slow
speed and size of most sea turtles that prevents them from being able to stay on land and
nurture their young.