Sea turtle season is in full swing here on our local Lowcountry beaches and barely a day goes by that another nest is not found. Hunting, Pritchards, Harbor and Fripp islands are all seeing nesting loggerhead sea turtles on a regular basis with over 70 nest found so far on Beaufort’s sea islands.
From May through each year, female Loggerheads search for a safe spot on the soft sands of our area beaches to nest their eggs near the ocean. In honor of this special time, we’ve compiled a list of Loggerhead sea turtle facts that you might like to know.
Only one in one-thousand sea turtle hatchlings will live to maturity. That’s not a good success rate and a host of factors play into it including, man-made environmental factors and predators both in the ocean and along the shore.
A female Loggerhead sea turtle usually travels thousands of miles to nest her eggs on the same beach where she herself hatched as a baby. Baby turtles ‘imprint’ on the sand when born, and always return to the same beach.
Newly hatched Loggerheads are only two inches long, but grow into 250 pound adults measuring about 3 feet long at maturity
When searching for a place to nest along a beach, female Loggerheads leave wavy tracks in the sand commonly known as “crawls.”
Sea turtles use the moon’s reflection on waves and on the water to find their way back to the ocean. This is why flashlights and fires along the beaches are prohibited during sea turtle season, and anyone with a flashlight is just a plain ol’ idiot.
Temperatures during egg incubation periods inside the nests helps determine the sex of the hatchling. Incubation temperature has significant developmental effects on sea turtles including affecting sexual differentiation. Incubation temperature also affects traits that can influence survival.
The loggerhead sea turtle was first listed under the Endangered Species Act as threatened throughout its range in 1978.They’ve been on the list for a very long time. An average of 4,600 sea turtles are killed, accidentally in fishing nets each year alone. Poaching is also a problem in smaller countries as a source of revenue. The single biggest factor is the loss of habitat along coastlines due to humans.
The loggerhead sea turtle has been estimated to have been on Earth for over 110 million years.
Loggerhead sea turtles got their name from their oversized head, which looks a bit like – you guessed it! – a big log. They have a large, reddish-brown, hard shell, a pale yellow underbelly (or ‘plastron’) and four flippers with two (or sometimes three) claws on each.
We love sea turtle season on our local beaches in the Beaufort area. Visit this link to learn more and to see what you can do to help insure that our children and our childnre’s children get to enjoy seasons into the future.