Orientation

The hatchlings orientate in various ways from the moment they emerge from the nest.

When leaving the nest, they look for and head towards the brightness of the horizon, this usually being the reflection of the moon and the stars on the water, or the ocean surf. Artificial lights and fires may interfere causing disorientation and death of many puppies making them head towards inland instead the towards the sea.

As soon as they reach the sea, the hatchlings use two cues to guide them through their journey. The first one, the waves that can take the hatchling away from the coast more quickly, increasing their chances of survival. The second, the magnetic fields, as they can detect the angle and intensity of Earth’s magnetic field. The presence of magnetite in the brains of sea turtles suggests a possibility to understand their orientation capacity.

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