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Loggerhead Sea turtles

Our State Reptile

​Sea turtle nesting season in South Carolina is May through October, with the most active period in the summer. During this time, female loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) lay their eggs in nests on the beaches of the state's barrier islands. Each nest can contain up to 120 eggs, which incubate for 55 to 60 days. The hatchlings emerge from the nest at night and make their way to the ocean, guided by the moon's light. However, artificial lights from man-made sources, such as car headlights, street lights, or building lights, can disorient the hatchlings and lead them in the wrong direction. This is called "misorientation" and can cause the hatchlings to become lost.

Here are some tips from the S.C. Department of Natural Resources to help Loggerheads:

  • Turn off all exterior lights visible from the beach from dusk until dawn, May through October

  • Close blinds and drapes on windows to shield interior lights that can be seen from the beach or ocean

  • Don't shine lights on a sea turtle or take flash photography

  • Do not disturb a nesting sea turtle and observer her only from a distance

  • Fill in large holes dug on the beach at the end of the day because adult and baby turtles can get trapped in them

  • Remove tents, chairs, and other items from the beach and dunes at the end of the day

Images:

1- Sea Turtle release from South Carolina Aquarium. A loggerhead female generally nests every two to three years. On average, she'll lay eggs four times in one nesting season. Each time, she comes ashore and uses her front flippers to clear a spot in dry sand. Then she uses her hind flippers to dig her nesting hole and gently lay her eggs.

2-These beautifully colored sea turtles got their name because their oversized head looks like a big log. Within their heads are powerful jaws, which loggerheads use to crush prey like conchs, horseshoe crabs, and other animals with hard shells. These carnivores also eat softer foods like jellyfish and fish.

3-A female loggerhead sea turtle may travel thousands of miles to return to the beach where she hatched as a baby to lay her own eggs as an adult. She will lay between 90 and 110 eggs in her nest. 

4-In approximately eight and a half weeks the hatchlings will dig their way out of the sand. 

5- They wait just underneath the sand until nightfall to avoid daytime predators like crabs and birds.

6-When the evening air temperature cools, the hatchlings pop the rest of the way out and scurry toward the ocean, avoiding raccoons, crabs, birds, and other predators. 

7- They instinctively follow the moonlight to the sea where they will swim to the safety of the Sargasso Sea

Where can you see them in their natural environment?

South Carolina's near-shore waters are home to loggerhead, Kemp's ridley, green, and leatherback sea turtles from April to November. They can also be seen nesting on beaches from May to October. Here are some places in South Carolina where you can see sea turtles:

  • Edisto Beach State Park

    Take a ranger-guided nighttime beach walk to see loggerhead nesting or hatchlings making their way to the ocean.

  • Hilton Head Island

    Stay in a beachfront property or resort from May through October. Turtles usually nest at night, but you might see them before sunrise or after sunset.

  • Isle of Palms

    During the summer, licensed groups help hatchlings reach the ocean as part of a coastal conservation effort.

  • Huntington Beach and Hunting Island state parks

    These parks offer educational programs about sea turtles during the summer. 

    South Carolina

​Read more:

https://www.dnr.sc.gov/marine/pub/seascience/seaturtle.html

https://scaquarium.org/

http://www.seaturtle.org/nestdb/?view=2

https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/animals/reptiles/facts/loggerhead-sea-turtle#:~:text=These%20beautifully%20colored%20sea%20turtles,foods%20like%20jellyfish%20and%20fish.

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