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3/5/2012 9:07:33 PM EST
|Sea Turtles Off the Coast of North Carolina
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Have You Ever Seen Sea Turtles Off the Coast of North Carolina?
I grew up in North Carolina. I lived no more than 20 miles from the Atlantic Ocean.
One of the things that I would do at about this time of year is that I would go out in the middle of the night to the ocean and watch as the sea turtles would make their journey to nest in the sands off of the NC coast.
For a kid, and maybe for anyone else who may interested, this was one awesome thing to see.
These turtles seem to be huge. I have seen people riding on the top of their backs before and they are just huge.
The turtles will emerge from the ocean at night and will crawl across the beach to a suitable nest site near or at the base of a primary dune. Using her rear flippers, she digs an 18-24 inch deep nest cavity shaped like an upside down light bulb and deposits an average of 120 golf-ball size eggs.
When she is finished laying her eggs, the female carefully covers the nest with sand and slowly returns to the water leaving the eggs to face a number of natural and human-induced dangers without further protection. The female will lay a bunch of eggs every two weeks during a single nesting season.
Following an incubation period of approximately 63 days, hatchlings emerge from the nest cavity under the cover of darkness. They scamper across the beach towards the ocean. Upon entering the water, the hatchlings swim nonstop until they reach a major oceanic current such as the Gulf Stream located off the North Carolina coast. Once entrained in oceanic currents, they drift passively amid large rafts of floating vegetation for as long as ten years.
If you are fortunate enough to encounter a nesting female or a nest that is hatching do not crowd or disturb the turtles, do not shine lights or snap flash photos, and turn off all lights in the immediate area including inside lights. Sit quietly away from the turtles. Your eyes will quickly adjust to the darkness and allow you to enjoy the experience without harassing the animals.
Do Not Disturb: If you see an adult sea turtle coming on shore, stay quiet and keep your distance! Otherwise she may get scared and go back into the ocean without nesting. They are an endangered species and it is a federal offense to harass them.
Turn Off All Flashlights! Lights may scare or confuse the adult female and cause her to leave without nesting.
Lights Cause Hatchlings To Go In the Wrong Direction
Never Pick Up A Hatchling. It is critical that they crawl on their own.
Do Not Disturb The Nest Area.
Just one of natures awesome sights and one of those things we should all make sure and keep from becoming endangered if at all possible.
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