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Turtle Watch- From May to August sea turtles lay eggs in nests along area beaches. These nests are an around 30 inches deep and hold an average of 120 eggs per nest which will incubate for approximately 60 days. Starting in late July, the turtles will hatch and make their way to the ocean. Area volunteers who are certified and hold permits from the NC Wildlife Resources Commission assist and protect the threatened and endangered sea turtles. These volunteers will “Nest Sit” with the adopted nest and ensure the hatchlings make it to the ocean safely. To learn more about sea turtles stop in at the Oak Island Turtle Preservation program located at the Ruth T Bingham Oak Island Senior Center, 5918 E. Oak Island Drive, Oak Island (Open Monday-Saturday 10am-4pm), Bald Head Island Nature Convervancy (700 Federal Road), Museum of Coastal Carolina at 21 E. Second Street, Ocean Isle Beach (Hours vary) or NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher at 900 Loggerhead Road, Kure Beach (Open Daily 9am-5pm except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day).
We encourage our visitors and residents to help ensure successful nesting and hatching by:
-Avoid disturbing a turtle that is crawling to or from the ocean. Call the police at 911 to report location.
-Beach House occupants can help by turning exterior lights facing the beach OFF during hatching season.
-Do not crowd around or attempt to ride the turtle. Do not shine lights, or snap flash photographs. Sit quietly in the dark, at a distance.
-Do not disturb cages that are protecting the nests. Don’t shine a flashlight into the cage. Only red lights are used to check nests.
-Never touch or handle hatchlings. Only one of every 1,000 hatchlings make it to adulthood.
-If you happen to witness an emerging nest, follow the volunteer’s instructions and feel free to ask the volunteer questions. Most importantly Do not use flash cameras as the hatchling will become disoriented.
-Remember to fill in any holes dug in the sand during the day. Turtles become trapped in the holes and have died.
-Please pick up trash and remove your trash from the beaches. Turtles may mistake plastic bags, balloons and other trash as food which when they ingest block their intestine, causing death.
Thank you Caswell Beach Turtle Watch for the above information. If you are interested in making a donation to assist efforts by Caswell Beach and the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue & Rehabilitation Center can purchase Turtle Watch merchandise from Caswell Beach Town Hall, 1100 Caswell Beach Road - Monday – Friday: 8am-4:30pm. You can also purchase Oak Island Sea Turtle Protection Program merchandise at the Ruth T Bingham Oak Island Senior Center, 5918 E. Oak Island Drive, Oak Island. They are open Monday-Saturday from 10am-4pm.