a good year for ocracoke sea turtles
It may be part of the life cycle of the species or various other reasons, but it’s been a great year for sea turtles on the OBX, with more active sea turtle nests on Ocracoke this year than there has been in quite some time. This article from Ruth Fordon writing for the Ocracoke Observer has some great information about sea turtles and their behavior.
“Female sea turtles nest in cycles and this year is exceptional,” National Park Service Ranger Jocelyn Wright, lead biotech and coordinator for the Ocracoke sea turtle program, reported recently.
There have been years when reaching 35 nests was considered a good season. As of Aug. 13, there were 81 nests logged on the data records kept by the NPS. This means that eggs were located in the nest and it’s marked with signs as a nesting site and protected until it is hatched or reached the date where it is considered no longer viable (due to a variety of factors including infertile eggs or standing water over the nest that may cause the eggs to rot).
Ocracoke is known for producing more male sea turtles since the sex of the turtles is determined by the average daily temperature of the hatching grounds. Male turtles never return to land after hatching. Only the female comes ashore. During the nesting season here, usually mid-May through the end of August, an individual female sea turtle (primarily loggerhead) will crawl ashore to lay a nest of around 100 to 120 ping pong ball-size eggs every three to five weeks.”