Seabrook Island Wildlife Profile: The Loggerhead Sea Turtle
Image Courtesy of Olivia Helsel
It’s Loggerhead Sea Turtle Nesting Season for South Carolina Beaches!
Watching sea turtles hatch and make their way into the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean is one of the most memorable wildlife experiences for residents and visitors of Seabrook Island. Read on to learn more about our treasured South Carolina loggerhead sea turtles and where to watch them hatch in South Carolina during this summer’s nesting season.
The Loggerhead Sea Turtle Life Cycle
During sea turtle nesting season, a female loggerhead will come to shore to lay her eggs on average three to four times. Burrowed loggerhead nests typically contain about 120 eggs at the start. As eggs take about 60 days to incubate, the peak time for sea turtle hatchlings to emerge usually falls around July and August. The new sea turtle hatchlings will then make their way to the Atlantic Ocean, where they will grow and open-ocean feed for the next 5 to 20 years. As they mature into full-sized adults, typically about 3 feet long and 250 pounds, loggerhead sea turtles migrate to coastal water feeding areas to reproduce their own offspring. Loggerheads are a long-lived species, with scientists speculating that many live 50 years or more! Female loggerhead turtles first produce offspring between the ages of 17 and 33, and their mating period may last more than six weeks.
Learn more fun facts about Loggerhead Sea Turtles here.
Where to See Sea Turtles on Seabrook Island, SC
South Carolina’s sea turtle nesting season runs from May 1 until Oct. 31 every year. If you’re at Seabrook during this season, you have a good chance of seeing hatchlings making their way to the water. With an abundance of quiet secluded coastline, calm waves, and slow Atlantic Ocean currents, Seabrook Island, SC beaches are an ideal setting for Loggerheads and their hatchlings during nesting season. In addition to Pelican Beach’s calm waters, North Beach features long stretches of compact sand and peaceful coves in the Inlet at Captain Sam’s and North Beach Lagoon.
If you are hoping to catch a glimpse of one of these endangered nesting sites, make sure to scan areas located above the high-tide line. We welcome exploration of our wildlife areas to experience the complete Seabrook Island lifestyle experience. However, if you find a sea turtle or sea turtle eggs, please observe the wildlife from a distance. It is against state law to touch or disturb nesting sea turtles, hatchlings, or their nests.
Turtle Nesting Rules to Remember:
- Refrain from disrupting turtle hatchlings or nests to maintain Seabrook Island’s safe wildlife habitat.
- Do not use flash when photographing the sea turtles.
- Cover all holes made in the sand and knock over sandals castles or other blockages that could prevent hatchlings from crossing to the ocean.
- Remember to turn off all lights visible from the beach by 9:00 p.m from May-October to allow sea turtle hatchlings to find their way to the water.
Learn more about how you can help keep our Seabrook Island, SC beaches Loggerhead-friendly here so that we can all do our part to preserve this incredible species for generations to come.
How We Protect the Sea Turtles
The loggerhead sea turtle was listed as threatened in 1978 under the Endangered Species Act and has received federal protection status ever since. As a wildlife sanctuary, Seabrook is dedicated to protecting and preserving the island’s natural resources, including sea turtle nesting sites. Operating in cooperation with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), The Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol is a volunteer organization that works to protect South Carolina Loggerheads through the identification and protection of nests, inventory of current nests, data collection, and educational offerings. To learn more about sea turtle sightings and turtle nesting season volunteer opportunities, contact Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol.
With our unique wildlife and exquisite coastal scenery, Seabrook Island is truly a one-of-a-kind beach destination. Additionally, our private community features the nationally recognized Seabrook Island Beach Club overlooking the Atlantic Ocean with a variety of nearby dining options, two award-winning golf courses, a tournament-level tennis compound, full-service equestrian center, and fitness/aquatics complex.
If you and your family want to come experience the magical wildlife wonders that Seabrook Island has to offer, plan your visit with us today – just in time for the Loggerhead nesting season! In the meantime, check out this video on Loggerhead Sea Turtles.