A fascinating study took place recently by researchers from the University of Western Study in Australia. The subject of their study was that of the Murray short-necked turtle which is found in Australia. It was found that before the turtles are hatched there is some form of communication amongst the baby turtles inside their eggs.

The purpose of this communication is essential to keep them from hatching early and emerging from their eggs on their own. This is because there are many predators that are seeking an easy meal of a lone baby turtle such as the goannas and foxes.

Although it is not believed that the unhatched turtles are vocally communicating with each other, there is some form of communication such as cueing in on each other's heart rates or possibly detecting the gases emitted from their breathing. The eggs are all close together in a tight clutch and it would be easy for them to feel the vibrations of a heartbeat or sense the increases of carbon dioxide given off from their breathing.

Although the precise method of communication remains unknown, it was found that the embryos that were at the bottom of the nest where the temperatures are lower than the top, actually had a form of a "catchup mechanism". This enables them to overcome their longer incubation periods due to the lower temperatures and speed up their heart rate and metabolism so that they can hatch relatively close to the rest of the warmer turtle eggs. Therefore their physical development is increased independent of their temperature at the time.

The hatching of the eggs close together is nature's way of ensuring that enough of these baby turtles will survive in order to continue their species. It is mother nature at her best although it still remains a mystery as to how it is actually accomplished. For now it is her secret.

Photo: Sara Bean

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Responses to "Baby turtles communicate with each other before hatching"

  1. Von says:

    Fascinating. I believe goslings also do this as they need to form a small flock, tightly bonded to each other to succesfully survive even through they have attendant parents.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Fantastic turtle pic! (like the story too!)

  3. Unknown says:

    Hi, it might be a long shot but what type of turtle is that pictured? Sorry for a late question. Loved the story. Makes sense the turtles need to tell their siblings hey I am ready for the world :-)

  4. Anonymous says:

    What kind of turtle is that shown in the picture?

  5. swagboy says:

    i want it send me it.send me a messinge to me throght email. it is

  6. Unknown says:

    What type of turtle is in this picture????

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