North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle PatrolPosted on 06/19/2013
While at the beach with my family this past Saturday in Cherry Grove we had the unexpected pleasure of witnessing something very special- we saw volunteers of the North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle Patrol relocating a Sea Turtle nest from a busy, populated area of Myrtle Beach to the far North end of North Myrtle Beach (Cherry Grove). The volunteer I spoke with informed me that the nest contained about 120 eggs, also know as a clutch of eggs, the average nest contains between 80 and 150 eggs. He also informed me that past studies have shown that only 1 in 1,000 hatchlings survive, but the organization feels the number of sea turtles that survive has increased over the years.
The eggs were from a Loggerhead Sea Turtle, which nests between the beaches of North Carolina to Florida from May 1st to October 31st. The females crawl ashore, dig a nest with its back flippers and lay their eggs. A female Loggerhead may come ashore several times during their nesting season to try and lay a clutch of eggs. After laying their eggs, the sea turtle covers their nest, packs the sand down over the eggs to cover and protect the nest. The turtle then makes its way back to the sea, never to return to the eggs or nest again.
The North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle Patrol has some advisories if you should happen to see a nesting female. Stay still, movement may cause the turtle to return to the ocean. Do not move towards the turtle, take flash photos or shine any kind of light on her. Keep in mind that being on the beach and out of the water is very unnatural for the sea turtles and they may be very skittish. If a nesting female is scared away from one nesting site, she may move further down the beach or attempt to return the next night. If the turtle tries to nest several times but is unsuccessful, she may drop her eggs in the ocean, which results in the destruction of the entire clutch. The eggs will hatch 6-8 weeks later- the hatchlings must dig out of the sand, usually emerging after dark. They run towards the natural light of the moon and stars reflecting off the ocean.
If you happen to see emerging hatchlings from a nest the North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle Patrol advises that you do not disturb them if they are headed to the ocean, just watch quietly. Again, do not shine any form of light on the hatchlings, take flash pictures or place them in the water. It is best for the turtles to navigate to the ocean themselves. These hatchlings dehydrate very quickly when exposed to the heat of the sun and will die if they do not make it to the ocean quickly. If a stranded hatchling is found please help it to the ocean by placing it at the edge of the surf but allow it to enter the water on its own. Do not place the them in a bucket of water, nor carry it out into the deep water. They need to acclimate to their surroundings before entering deeper water.
Adult Loggerhead Sea Turtles may weigh between 250 and 350 pounds, and grow up to 5 feet in length. The adult Loggerhead's main predators are sharks, boats/ships, fishing nets and lines, trash, pollutants, diseases, obstructions on beach and people. Please understand that sea turtles are ENDANGERED and face EXTINCTION!
While at the beach, if you come in contact with a nesting Sea Turtle or an exposed or endangered nest you can contact the North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle Patrol at 843.283.6670 or for more information you can visit their website at www.nmbseaturtlepatrol.com or on their Facebook Page: North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle Patrol. The North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle Patrol is a Non-Profit Organization that was established in 2010. They are a great organization that it working so selflessly for the benefit of the sea turtle, the ocean and our ecosystem, so please follow them and give support in any way you can...Keep up the great work guys!
*Information was provided by North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle Patrol*