Loggerhead Sea Turtles (caretta caretta) are reptiles related to land turtles, lizards and snakes. Adapted to live in the ocean, loggerheads have powerful flippers and an aerodynamic body that allows them to move gracefully through the ocean.
Loggerhead Sea Turtles nest on the beaches of Hilton Head Island between May and August. An adult females will nest every two to four years, coming ashore between 4 and 6 times per season to lay eggs. Loggerheads typically nest at night, crawling to a dry part of the beach where females will dig a nest cavity with their rear flippers and deposit an average of 120 eggs. Once the eggs have been laid, the female throws sand to disguise the nest from predators and slowly returns to the ocean.
After about 60 days of incubation, the small turtles within the eggs begin to hatch. During the cool night, the 2 inch long hatchlings emerge from the nest, orient themselves towards the brightest horizon, and crawl towards the ocean. Once in the water, hatchlings swim many miles offshore where they will spend the next 25-30 years of their life growing to adulthood.
The Hilton Head Island Sea Turtle Protection Project monitors sea turtle nesting and hatching activity on Hilton Head Island from May to October. This conservation project began in 1985 and is managed by the Coastal Discovery Museum.
To view video - click picture (wait while it loads)
Ways You Can Help Protect Sea Turtles:
- Turn Beachfront Lights Off May 1 - October 31
- Remove Beach Litter
- Fill in Sand Holes and Smooth Sand Castles
- Report injured Turtles
- Leave Nest Sites Undisturbed
- Do Not Shine Flashlights or Take Flash Photographs of Nesting Turtles
- Adopt a Sea Turtle Nest at the Coastal Discovery Museum: (download Adopt a Nest Form PDF)
View Nesting Map
Please note: Loggerhead Sea Turtle Nests have also been observed on Pine Island in Hilton Head Plantation, however because sea tutle nesting activity is not monitored on a daily basis within Hilton Head Plantation, these nests are not included in this map.
For additional information about sea turtles nesting on Hilton Head Island please visit: http://www.seaturtle.org/nestdb/index.shtml?view_beach=73