North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtles: What You Need To Know

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If you are interested in sea turtles, there are several places to see the Loggerhead Sea Turtle in North Myrtle Beach. The most common of the North Myrtle Beach sea turtles is the Loggerhead, which is the most abundant marine turtle species. Loggerheads are named for their large heads and powerful jaw muscles that are used to eat hard-shelled prey. These turtles have an average life span of 50 years and can grow to be more than three feet long and weigh around 230 pounds. Unfortunately this species is on the endangered species list due to the loss of nesting areas, food sources, and pollution levels rising in the ocean. The loggerhead sea turtles are not as likely to be hunted for their meat or shells as other sea turtles. Instead their declining numbers are due to being accidentally caught in fishing nets since their habitat coincides with the location of many fisheries.

Our Local Advocacy Groups

Between May 1st and the middle of August the North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle Patrol starts at sunrise and walks the beach marking the potential nesting sites of the North Myrtle Beach sea turtles. The hatchlings will emerge 45-65 days after the eggs are laid. Four days after the hatchlings have emerged the patrol is allowed to evaluate the nests. They are looking to see how many turtles hatched and how many eggs are left unhatched in the nest. The patrol is authorized by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources to conduct their research and conservation activities in regards to the North Myrtle Beach sea turtles. The public is invited to come out and observe the process.

A Recent Sea Turtle Hatch

On October 3, 2017 the last sea turtle emerged from its nest and was caught on camera by the patrol. This particular nest had 117 eggs and there were more than 5221 nests reported in South Carolina this season according to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Marine Turtle Conservation Program.

As exciting as it may be, you need to remember that it is unlawful to disturb the sea turtles nests and the hatchlings as they emerge from the nest. Hatchlings are very vulnerable while emerging from their nests and can become disoriented very quickly. Even taking a picture with a flash can cause them to veer off-course. It is good to remember that they are wild animals and as such are not used to interactions with people.

Make Sure To View Turtles Safely

Here are some tips to observe the sea turtle hatchlings safely. Do not sit or stand on the dunes since this is where the sea turtle hatchlings will be emerging from their nests. Give the sea turtle hatchlings plenty of space and do not approach them. Do not handle the sea turtle hatchlings or pick them up. Do not help to guide the sea turtle hatchlings to the ocean. Do not shine any lights on or around the sea turtle hatchlings, this can cause them to become disoriented and lose their way. Do not turn your cell phone on since it can make noise during the start up process and startle the sea turtle hatchlings. Do not take any pictures of the sea turtle hatchlings since flash photography can harm them. Disturbing the sea turtle hatchlings is against the law and can result in causing them harm. Remember that you are here simply as an observer. It is important that the sea turtle hatchlings make the trek to the ocean on their own. They are learning survival skills that will be necessary for them while living in the ocean.

It is an extraordinary sight to watch sea turtles emerge from their nests and start their journey in life. North Myrtle Beach is a wonderful place to observe this event. Just remember that there are some simple rules to follow so that this great species can continue to exist and thrive in the wild.

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