Posted by: Sunset Rentals | June 16, 2009

Turtle Time!

Each summer on Hilton Head Island beaches, an amazing natural event occurs. The loggerhead sea turtle emerges from the waters of the Atlantic, crawls ashore and lays her eggs in a sandy nest.

The mommy turtle can take up to an hour to create the perfect nest with her two rear flippers. Once the nest is complete, she deposits approximately 100 ping pong-sized eggs into the nest, covers them with sand and returns to the sea. After about two months, the baby turtles emerge from the sand and scramble into the ocean.

Because Hilton Head is a popular vacation destination, this can have a life-threatening effect on the baby loggerheads. The hatchlings usually emerge from the nest at night. To find the ocean, they move toward the brightest horizon. Bright light from homes and streets near the beach can confuse their natural sense of direction. Instead of heading out to sea, they turn toward land to most certain death. It is vital for the baby loggerheads to reach the ocean because they are at risk of dehydration and predators.

The best way to get up close with the loggerhead nests is to go on a professional guided tour. The Coastal Discovery Museum offers a Turtle Talk & Walk during the summer months. It is a guided evening beach walk that will show and tell you all you want to know about the nationally-threatened loggerhead sea turtle species.

Do your part to protect these amazing creatures while on vacation this year. If you are staying at an ocean-front or near-ocean home, make sure all outside lights are turned off or shielded from dusk to dawn May 1 – October 31.

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