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2024 Sea Turtle Season Update

Find out the daily nest count and learn more about Sea Turtle Season on Hilton Head Island.

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Hilton Head Island’s Sea Turtle Season starts in May and lasts until October. The majority of nesting sea turtles that come to the island are Loggerheads, and most of them will return after journeying thousands of miles to lay nests on our beaches every few years. This includes sea turtles that actually hatch on the island, making it a pretty neat generational tradition!

TOTAL NESTS:

TOTAL EGGS:

FALSE CRAWLS:

Total Updated Using Data from SeaTurtle.org on June 14th, 2024

It takes 45 to 60 days for eggs to incubate, and temperature has everything to do with how long incubation takes as well as if the sea turtles about to hatch will be male or female. Meaning, if the eggs incubate below 81.86° Fahrenheit, the hatchlings will be male, if the temperature is warmer, the hatchlings will be female. These nests are called clutches, and an average Loggerhead clutch contains over 100 eggs. If everything goes well, nesting females will lay about 4 clutches during the season.

There are various things that we can keep in mind to protect these endangered creatures. If your visiting Hilton Head Island this summer, the following are three things to keep in mind during your stay:

Sea Turtles lay their eggs under the cover of night. That’s why the town of Hilton Head Island reminds everyone staying along the beach to turn off lights and keep the curtains closed. When it comes time to hatch, if artificial light is brighter than the moon shining off the water, baby sea turtles can get confused and head in the opposite direction of where they actually need to go!

You probably already know about cleaning up after yourself when your group leaves the beach for the day–it’s just common courtesy! But leaving trash and other items behind creates barriers for sea turtles as they move up and down the beach. This includes flattening any sandcastles you’ve made (I know, we’re sorry), and filling any holes that you’ve dug in the sand.

Almost as important as never touching a sea turtle–adult or not–please keep in mind that if you’re on an early morning stroll down the beach, do not shuffle through sea turtle tracks! If you disturb these wavy lines before volunteers from Hilton Head Island Turtle Patrol or Turtle Trackers find them, how can they identify the tracks, find the nest, and move them safely out of harms way if need be?

Learn More About…

Website

Dedicated volunteer organization that plays a crucial role in monitoring and protecting sea turtles on Hilton Head Island by monitoring the beach, relocating nests, and public education and outreach.

Website

A 501c3 volunteer organization, the Turtle Tracker’s mission is to assist with the preservation efforts for endangered sea turtles nesting on the island and to educate the public to protect hatchlings headed to the ocean.

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2024 Sea Turtle Season Update

Find out the daily nest count and learn more about Sea Turtle Season on Hilton Head Island.

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