Safety and the Loggerhead Sea Turtles

posted: May 6, 2022, 9:34 AM

Any day now we expect the mama sea turtles to start coming onto our beach to lay their eggs. So now is the time we all need to be thinking of our turtles and how to keep the beach safe for them to nest. If the mamas get scared (lights, noise) or if they don’t find a suitable spot for their nest (trash, etc.), they will leave that spot on our beach to go back into the ocean to look for another suitable spot. At worst, they won’t find a spot in time and the mamas will release their eggs into the ocean.

We can all do a few simple things to pave the way for the mamas to find a beautiful nest site on Holden Beach to lay their eggs. Bright lights will scare the mama sea turtles. The best way to avoid scaring them is to purchase a flashlight with a red bulb and to stop using flashlights with white bulbs when walking the beach at nighttime before dawn. The mamas will come up when it is dark to lay their nests, but even with the red flashlight, you should never shine the light on her. Just sit back, call our Stranding Team at 910-754-0766, give us your location and watch the beauty in silence as she lays her nest. Noise is another deterrent for the mama turtles, so stay as quiet as you can and watch this miracle unfold.

A dirty beach littered with trash is another thing the mama turtles do not like. They want their babies to be in a clean and safe environment just like human mamas. Some trash can be confused as food for the turtles. Balloons are especially dangerous as they resemble one of the turtle’s favorite foods – jellyfish. If a turtle eats a balloon, it can kill her by either choking her or causing an obstruction that will prevent from eating, therefore causing them to die of starvation.

We would also ask that holes dug on the beach get filled back in before you leave. A mama turtle could get stuck in the hole when coming up on the beach to lay her nest. Sea turtles are unable to back up, so they are unable to get out of holes. We also don’t want a beach walker to step or fall into a hole and possibly break a leg or worse.

Together, we can keep Holden Beach a safe and suitable environment for our beloved mama sea turtles to successfully lay their nests this season.
**This conservation work for protected sea turtles on Holden Beach is authorized by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission (ES Permit 22ST11).**

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