The Board of Trustees of
Sabah Parks


Sea turtles (superfamily Chelonioidea) or marine turtles are turtles that inhabit all of the world's oceans except the Arctic. The seven living species of sea turtles are: flatback sea turtle, green sea turtle, hawksbill sea turtle, Kemp's ridley sea turtle, leatherback sea turtle, loggerhead sea turtle and olive ridley sea turtle.

In Sabah Parks, only the Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) and Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) are returning to the nest, mainly at Turtle Islands Park. Now, Pulau Sipadan Park becomes the favorite turtle nesting.

Both Green and Hawksbill Turtles come to shore throughout the year to lay their eggs. Peak season for the Greens are between July to October and for the Hawksbills between February to April. The female turtle drags herself up the beach to a site above the high water mark. Using her rear flippers, she digs a circular hole 40 to 50 centimetres (16 to 20 in) deep. 

After the hole is dug, the female then starts filling the nest with a clutch of soft-shelled eggs one by one until she has deposited around 50 to 200 eggs, depending on the species. Some species have been reported to lay 250 eggs, such as the hawksbill. After laying, she re-fills the nest with sand, re-sculpting and smoothing the surface until it is relatively undetectable visually.

Please pay attention that a bright light on or near their nesting beach is a major deterrent and they may avoid coming on shore entirely.

Tagging and measuring turtles enable the Park to keep a data base to gain a clearer picture of the turtle’s growth, distribution and population. Therefore, all new turtles that come to shore at the Park are tagged by the rangers, the tag reading “Return to Turtles Island Park, Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia"