Turtle Season 2022 has Officially Begun

posted: May 21, 2022, 3:52 PM

The 2022 turtle season has officially begun! Our first nest was spotted by our morning riders on May 21. The nest is covered in plastic netting to keep crabs, fox, raccoons, and other predators out. The nest is then surrounded by caution tape for protection from people and vehicles. A metal hurricane stake is also buried within the enclosure which is important should the other markers be washed away. A sign called a Nest Plate is placed on each nest. In the upper right corner is the nest number. Nests are numbered in the order in which they were laid. If there is another number along with the nest number you know the nest has been moved and the eggs counted. If you see the letters UNK that means "unknown" because the nest was left in place where the mother laid it, so the eggs were not counted. These UNK nests are called natural nests. Please call 910-754-0766 if you see a mother turtle, injured turtle, or baby turtle on the beach.
Here are some interesting facts about momma Loggerheads:
• Because of DNA studies that we are a part of at the University of Georgia, we know that the mommas come back to an "area" that can be as large as 300 miles wide to lay their eggs.
• A momma turtle leaves a track in the sand called a crawl.
• Once she begins the process of laying eggs it appears she is in a trance-like state for about 30 minutes.
• Momma Loggerheads lay an average of 120 eggs every 12-13 days. They average 3 nests each year. Most mommas take a year or two off after laying eggs.
• After she lays her eggs she returns to the ocean and she does not come back to see the babies.
• Female Loggerheads begin laying eggs when they are 30-35 years old and have been known to nest until they are in their 80's.
**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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