Sea Turtles

Sea Turtle Nests are all along our beaches here in North Myrtle. Here are some quick facts to help educate on Sea Turtles!

Mostly loggerheads (Caretta caretta), a “northern sub-species” that nests in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina; genetically distinct from “southern” (Florida) species; population is much smaller than southern.

About May until about mid-August.

About 3’ long and almost as wide; 250-350 pounds.

They dig with their back flippers.

About 30-45 minutes just to dig; another 30-45 minutes to emerge from ocean, crawl up the beach and return to ocean.

The bottom of the nest is typically about 18” but topmost eggs can be only 8-10” from surface.

An average of 120 ping-pong ball-sized eggs.

45 – 65 days depending on the sand temperature.

No, once she the eggs are laid, the mother returns to the ocean and never sees the nest, eggs or hatchlings again.

When it is laid below the spring high tide line and in danger of being overwashed or washed away because of beach erosion.

Too much heat, too much water, bacteria in nest and nest diggers (roots, ants, sand crabs, dogs and people).

Ants, ghost crabs, dogs, birds, fish, people.

Sharks, boats / ships, fishing nets and lines, trash, pollutants, diseases, obstructions on beach and people.

Both events usually take place at night and according to turtle time. To feel safe, the nesting turtles need a NATURAL habitat (dark, quiet, motionless). To have the best chance, the hatchlings need NATURAL lighting with no obstructions between the nest and the ocean.

Small turtles float in the Sargasso Sea along the major North Atlantic currents.

No one really knows but recent research suggest 1 in 1,000.

The hatchling needs to get into the water as quickly as possible. It should be placed on the wet sand at the water line to rehydrate if necessary.  If it is active, it can be walked out beyond the breakers and released into the water.  It is against state and federal law to remove the hatchling from it’s natural environment.

If a turtle has stranded on the beach, it is sick or injured.  Do not push back into the water.  Call the NMB Sea Turtle Patrol at 843-283-6670 or the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Hotline at 1-800-922-5431. It is recommended that the turtle be shaded and wet towels placed on it’s carapace to avoid overheating.

All sea turtles in the US are state and federally protected.  It is against the law to have any live turtles or their parts.

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