The general life cycle of turtles are shared by all species:
- Mother turtles come on to the beach at night to lay a nest of 100-200 eggs.
- Nests will hatch in 40 to 60 days.
- Baby turtles are completely independent at birth and never see their mothers.
- After emerging from the nests, hatchlings crawl as quickly as possible to the sea and swim towards the open ocean.
- Young turtles spend several years drifting with the currents (often referred to as the lost years), feeding on small animals living in algae floating in the water.
- After a few years, immature turtles will settle close to shore where it may take them more than 30 years to reach adulthood.
- Female turtles will swim back to the beach on which they were born to lay eggs every 2 to 3 years, while males will migrate annually from the feeding areas to the mating grounds.
- Sea turtles have a very low natural survival rate: only 1 in 1,000 turtles will make it to adulthood.