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Nine males, one female; divers watch turtles get frisky

Mating season ends this month.
Mating season ends this month. Kate Hickey

ONE female with nine males surrounded, all circling, pushing and shoving, ready to make their move.

This was the act of nature a group of snorkellers faced as they swam at Lady Musgrave Island, when they watched 10 sea turtles in the midst of mating season.

While it sounds bizarre, maybe a little uncomfortable, the green sea turtles weren't bothered by their audience.

Lady Musgrave Eco Tourism Resort activities attendant Kate Hickey said the group watched on for 30 minutes as the male turtles waited for their turn.

While it's a rare sight for humans, this is not unusual for turtles, with females fertile for just 72-96 hours.

Ms Hickey said females will mate with as many partners as possible in that time.

"At one point there were four turtles stacked on top of each other," Ms Hickey said.

"There were other males waiting to jump in too," Ms Hickey said.

"Then one of the males was a little bit aggressive and he was using his flipper to try to pull off the other turtle," she said.

The action was happening in 5m-deep water, meaning the crowd of snorkellers had a perfect view of this spectacle of nature.

Green sea turtles during mating season.
Green sea turtles during mating season. Kate Hickey

Ms Hickey said it was a unique sight because sometimes turtles would not be as accepting of the crowd.

"Everyone was going in the water hoping to see manta rays, no one was expecting that," Ms Hickey said.

Green sea turtles are in mating season until the end of this month.

Each female lays eggs every four to seven years. Some can nest up to 100 eggs in one season.

Turtles will start to nest in October and it takes two months until hatchlings make their way back to the water.

Topics:  animals mating, editors picks, lady musgrave island, mating, snorkelling, turtles



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