As we reach the end of July there is about one month left in the 2019 nest laying season (turtles will hatch until about the end of October) and the numbers are amazing. With 443 nests as of July 29 we have already passed the annual record of 411 set in 2016. Over the past ten years, there have been an average of 269 nests per year, with the lowest point during that time being 131 nests located in 2014:
Scientists believe that Sea Turtles usually return to the same beach to nest as where they were hatched, which means we should have even higher numbers over the next decades (turtle start laying eggs after 10 to 50 years). By the way, how they find the same beach is still a mystery, but my favorite theory is that they follow older females from their usual feeding grounds.
Just like alligators, the temperature of the nest determines a hatchling’s gender. Warmer temperatures yield mostly females, cooler temperatures produce a majority of males. This temperature dependence results in South Carolina being a “sweet spot” for nesting in the US. While Florida has by far the most coastline it had only 2,096 nests in 2018 compared to South Carolina’s 2,767. Georgia had 1,742, and North Carolina had only 799.
(By the way, this is the reason you don’t find alligators in the north. While they could live there, they could not reproduce.)
We will continue to monitor the nesting and hatching progress from Captains Walk 413 in the heart of Palmetto Dunes. Expect an update in the next few months!
NOTE: If you can’t wait for our next update you can follow daily progress on the SeaTurtle.org website. Click HERE for the link to South Carolina stats.
Eggs will be hatching through October. Want to see the baby turtles in person? Book your Hilton Head Island vacation now at Captains Walk 413. This three bedroom, three bath unit is just steps from the beach, with ocean front views from the balcony, master bedroom and large common room. Click HERE for reservation details!