North Carolina Sea Turtle Nesting Declines No Cause For Alarm

September 8, 2014

North Carolina has experienced a decline in sea turtles nesting on its coast for 2014, the first decline after four years of increasing numbers. Scientists say that the decrease, pegged at 58 percent, is large, but not concerning considering the numbers for 2013.

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The number of sea turtle nests along the North Carolina coast plummeted this season following four years of steadily increasing numbers. Though the decrease was drastic – a 58 percent drop from last year – it's not concerning, according to experts.

hatchling loggerhead sea turtle

national park service

The decline in the number of sea turtle nests in North Carolina for 2014 was expected. A hatchling loggerhead sea turtle making its way to the ocean.

"The numbers so far are about 30 percent below average, which is typically about 750 nests per year," Matthew Godfrey, a sea turtle biologist with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission told Star News Online.

"That's within the range of normal fluctuation, so I think it's perfectly normal. There's nothing that jumps out at me that we should be worried about."

May through August is generally considered the nesting season in the state, though some turtles have laid eggs as late as October. The majority of sea turtles that nest in the state are loggerheads (Caretta caretta), though green (Chelonia mydas) and leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) also nest on the state’s beaches, but in smaller numbers.

John B. Virata keeps a ball python, two corn snakes, a king snake, and two leopard geckos. His first snake, a California kingsnake, was purchased at the Pet Place in Westminster, CA for $5. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata 


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