Sea turtle nesting season begins along Cape Fear coast

Sea turtle nest in May 2019. (Photo: Oak Island Sea Turtle Protection Program)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The North Carolina coast is a hot spot for sea turtles to nest. May 1 was the official start of the 2019 season and now nests are beginning to pop up along the Cape Fear coast.

According to the Town of Holden Beach, the turtle patrol says they found the first nest of the season Thursday. A volunteer team was called out and the nest was reportedly moved because it was so far back behind the dune the hatchlings would have a difficult time getting to the ocean.

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“A team will begin watching this nest in late June,” the town posted on Facebook. “Incubation usually takes 50-60 days, but the first nest of the season frequently takes longer. The season has started!”

Holden Beach says they had two false crawl on Wednesday.

“A false crawl is when a mother turtle crawls onto the beach but leaves before laying her eggs,” the town said. “This could be because she couldn’t find a good place to lay her eggs or something frightened her. If you see a mother turtle coming ashore please stay away from her and do nothing that would surprise or startle her. Please do not shine lights on her or take flash photos.”

Oak Island Sea Turtle Protection Program reported their first nest of the season on Monday.

The first sea turtle nest of the season in North Carolina was reported on May 4 at Cape Lookout National Seashore on South Core Banks.

To report dead, sick, or injured sea turtles on land or water anywhere in the state, here’s a list of contacts.