Eli5: how newly hatched turtle know that they need to get to the sea ASAP?

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was watching a documentary and saw theses baby turtles that almost straight running towards the sea once hatched, and couldn’t understand that how they knew about that sea is where they should be going, without any adult turtle nearby or something that could guide them…

In: Biology

4 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

They can smell and hear the sea, and have a reflexive instinct to go toward those sensations. The turtles that did not have this reflex died off, the ones that did have this reflex survived and had more babies. Better “find the sea” reflexes made a turtle’s babies much more likely to live and make more babies.

Anonymous 0 Comments

This was on here I think 2 years ago actually, but essentially it’s a predetermined genetic instinct. They are just instinctually attracted to the largest and brightest open area. They hatch at night so that usually ends up being the sea they go to, because the ocean surface reflects the moon and ends up being the brightest surface they notice. As they’re usually hatching on or near the beach .

Anonymous 0 Comments

Hey there! So these cute baby turtles have this instinct built into ’em from birth. Just like you’d automatically blink when something comes close to your eyes, these little guys know to head towards the sea. Nature’s awesome GPS! No need for turtle-adult guidance. It’s just how they roll!

Anonymous 0 Comments

In a way, they have no idea what “the sea” is. It’s more like an automatic reflex after birth: go towards the light.

This reflex evolved blindly because the turtles that ended up in the water the fastest were the most likely to survive.