Majestic and ancient, SEA TURTLES are one of the most beloved treasures along Ocean Isle Beach. Out of the seven species of sea turtles roaming the world’s oceans, five of those species find their way to the shores of North Carolina on a regular basis. Visitors and locals are all encouraged to learn more about these flippered friends, and do their part to bring our turtles off the endangered and threatened species lists. It is time to ask some serious questions, and discover some fun facts about North Carolina’s sea turtles.
What in the world makes Sea Turtles So Special?
Feasting on a diet of jellyfish, seaweed, crabs, shrimp, sponges, snails, algae and mollusks, sea turtles vary greatly in size and weight. The Kemp’s Ridley will grow to about 30 inches and 80-100 pounds, whereas theLeatherback can grow to lengths of 6.5 feet and weight as much as 2,000 pounds. Once a sea turtle reaches reproductive age, they will typically mate along the coastline, adjacent to nesting grounds. A female sea turtles will migrate back the region where she was hatched, crawl out of the surf at night, dig a hole in the sand, deposit 70-190 eggs in the nest, cover it with sand, and then return to the ocean.
What happened to the Sea Turtles?
How do we turn the tables for Sea Turtles?
- Pick up your trash! If you are having a fun day on the boat or at the beach, be sure to check and double check for your trash. When you are packing the sunscreen and towels, grab a bag that will be used for any trash items. You can encourage your family to pick up trash that they see laying on the beach or in water. This is the perfect time to talk to your family about how trash affects wildlife. Shore birds, dolphin, fish, turtles and even people are affected by wayward trash.
- If the public trash is full, take your trash with you. One gust of wind sweeping over a trash can that is spilling over, can send debris of all kinds onto the beach and into the water.
- Report turtle nests and adult sea turtles. If you come across an unprotected nest or an adult sea turtle on Ocean Isle Beach, please report it immediately. Gather as much information as possible, such as location and condition of turtle. Please do not attempt to move the turtle, it could be a nesting female. If an animal is injured, touching it may result in unnecessary aggravation.
- Know where nesting sites have been reported. Doing a little research will help to keep your family from accidentally damaging or interfering with an existing nesting site.
- Think turtles thoughts during the North Carolinanesting season, May through September. When walking on the beach at night, use a red filter on your flashlights. Also, be sure to turn off exterior house lights that are facing the ocean. Turtles navigate by the light of moon, and can become confused by artificial light sources.
Want an opportunity to learn more about Sea Turtles?
Throughout the summer, there are two opportunities each week to engage in aTurtle Talk on Ocean Isle Beach. The Ocean Isle Beach Sea Turtle Protections Organization offers Turtles Talks, educational information, nest monitoring, internships and various volunteer opportunities. Another great resource in the NC Sea Turtle Project, run by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. In addition to monitoring the conditions of sea turtles along the NC coast, this project also helps to bridge the gap between volunteer and biologists…who are all working together to make the world a better place for sea turtles.