High Season for Turtles

posted: July 26, 2015, 3:54 PM

The past few days have been very busy for Turtle Patrol members. It's hard to keep up with all the activities. Momma turtles are still laying nests that we find in the morning and baby turtles are hatching in the evenings.

Wednesday was a very busy day for the turtles and the Holden Beach Turtle Patrol. Early in the morning, 3 new nests were identified and moved to locations where the hatchlings have the greatest chance of survival. In addition, 2 false crawls were identified - this means the mother turtles came ashore with the intent of laying their eggs but for some reason did not.

We had our weekly Children's Turtle Time to an overflowing crowd on Wednesday. There are 3 more weeks of this afternoon program for 3-6 year olds. Our Wednesday evening Turtle Talk had over 100 people and will continue Wednesdays at 7 p.m. throughout August.

Thursday night the adoption team arrived at nest #4 to find the depression (area of sunken sand at the middle of the nest) seen in the first photo: the depression is a sign that hatching is taking place under the sand. The team also noted quite a bit of movement under the sand at the top of the depression so it was clear that the "boil" was imminent. The depression continued to change quickly and only 30 minutes later the grate was removed and the counting cage placed over the center of the nest (see 2nd photo). Shortly after dark, 68 hatchlings emerged on day 56 in what's known as the "boil" - the rapid emergence of multiple hatchlings that looks similar to a pot of boiling water. All made it to the ocean under the watchful eyes of the Turtle Patrol team and the residents and visitors gathered at the nest! This nest was closed on Saturday night.

Nest #2 boiled Friday night and will close on Monday. Overnight Saturday nest #7 boiled. It will close on Tuesday. Nest #8 has a major depression and should hatch soon.

On Saturday nest #50 was laid and appears there are still more to come!

It's obvious that turtle season is in full swing on Holden Beach! See you on the beach!

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