Do female turtles shed one tear for each egg they lay?

A STAFF REPORT FROM THE STRAIGHT DOPE SCIENCE ADVISORY BOARD

Dear Straight Dope:

I recently heard a myth that a female turtle will shed one tear for every egg that she lays. Is this true? If so, what is she crying about?

SDStaff Doug replies:

If you’re talking about a sea turtle, then she does cry, but not “a single tear for every egg.”  It’s more like a slow and continual leakage the entire time she’s out of the water, though if she blinks, it might produce a well-defined “tear” each time. Like many marine vertebrates, sea turtles have problems with salt balance, and they “cry” constantly to help excrete excess salt. Not very poetic, after all, I guess.

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STAFF REPORTS ARE WRITTEN BY THE STRAIGHT DOPE SCIENCE ADVISORY BOARD, CECIL'S ONLINE AUXILIARY. THOUGH THE SDSAB DOES ITS BEST, THESE COLUMNS ARE EDITED BY ED ZOTTI, NOT CECIL, SO ACCURACYWISE YOU'D BETTER KEEP YOUR FINGERS CROSSED.

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