Did you know Bribie Island has turtles?! Boasting pristine beaches, sheltered sand dunes and warm waters, the coastal area of Bribie Island in Queensland is lucky enough to be an area where marine turtles nest and hatch annually. This article has everything you need to know about Bribie Island Turtles.
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Bribie Island Turtles
The heat of the Australian summer sun creating warm sand helps create ideal conditions for marine turtles to lay eggs and incubate them. Marine turtles, such as the loggerhead, briefly come ashore in places like Bribie Island to lay their eggs. The peak nesting season is between December and January, though nesting turtles can be seen from October to March.
Interestingly, the temperature of the sand where the eggs are incubated influences the sex of the hatchling. Cooler temperatures produce males, while warmer temperatures produce females, which is why most of the hatchlings from the Bribie Island area are males, due to the sands being cooler than that up north.
Once the eggs are laid, and incubation begins, so does the danger for these marine creatures. Inundation by water, erosion, human interference and animal predators are just some of the factors that can adversely affect these turtles’ survival rates.
When do turtles hatch on Bribie Island?
Once laid, the eggs incubate for six to eight weeks and then hatch. Hatching season on the Queensland coast ranges from December to May, with peak hatchings between February and March. Of course, these timings are dependent on when the eggs are initially laid.
When the turtles hatch, they break out of their shell and claw their way to the surface before tentatively returning to the water (usually at night). Hatchlings will use the lowest light on the horizon to guide them to the water, so artificial light can sometimes disorientate the little ones and cause them to head in the wrong direction.
This short journey is fraught with danger, leaving the tiny hatchlings at the mercy of the conditions. Deep tracks, driftwood and rubbish, can prove problematic, so areas near nesting turtles should be kept free from these obstacles where possible.
Once in the water, the baby turtles will use the direction of the waves and magnetic fields to find their way to deeper water, where they will spend most of their time feeding and resting.
What turtles hatch on Bribie Island?
While various marine turtles can be found in Moreton Bay waters, it is the loggerhead and very occasionally green turtles, which commonly nest and hatch on Bribie Island.
Loggerhead turtle facts
- Loggerhead turtles are an endangered species.
- The lifespan of loggerhead turtles is estimated to be between 50 – 80 years old.
- Loggerhead turtles can be found in coastal tropical and sub-tropical waters worldwide.
- In Australia, loggerhead turtles inhabit tropical waters off Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia and Northern Territory.
- Loggerhead turtles are mainly carnivorous, feeding on crabs, jelly fish, sea urchins and shellfish.
- Loggerhead turtles do not begin breeding until they are about 30 years old.
- Loggerhead turtles will return to the same area where they were born to nest.
- Female loggerhead turtles nest every two to six years.
- Nesting females will lay several clutches of eggs in a season, with an average of 125 eggs per clutch.
What can you do to protect the turtles?
Everyone can be involved in caring for the turtles and our environment.
- Follow signage in and around nesting areas
- Staying off dunes and roped-off areas
- When driving on beaches, stay on tracks and don’t drive on the dunes
- Avoid shining bright lights and torches on the beach during turtle nesting season
- Dispose of all rubbish appropriately
To help protect the turtles on Bribie Island, report turtle tracks, new nests and emerging hatchlings to Bribie Island Turtle Trackers on 0438 111 163.
Where else in Queensland can I see turtles?
For a truly special experience involving all things turtle, visit Mon Repos Turtle Centre, about 4 ½ hours north of Brisbane, near Bundaberg. Boasting the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the east coast of Australia, Mon Repos is dedicated to marine turtle conservation and research and offers many activities for visitors to enjoy.
Daytime guided walks with a ranger, a turtle tales immersive experience and night-time turtle encounters can be booked at Mon Repos, though they are every popular so get in early. An informative turtle centre, café, and gift shop are also available to visiting guests to use.
You can read more in our detailed Mon Repos review.
If you are visiting Bribie Island and looking for further inspiration to entertain the family check out Things to do with kids on Bribie Island.
Where is Bribie Island
Approximately 70km north of Brisbane, Bribie Island is connected to the mainland via a bridge and is a popular spot for nature lovers, 4WD enthusiasts, beach dwellers and holidaymakers. It is also an idyllic location for marine turtles to nest.
Next time you are on the beach at Bribie Island you may just be lucky enough to spot these awfully cute creatures as they hatch and make their way to the water. And please, if you encounter any turtles, be they young or old, keep your distance and admire them from afar.