Turtle hatching season underway on Tybee Island

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 3:42 PM EDT
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TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - The turtle hatching season is officially underway on Tybee Island. Over the last week, two of the 17 nests have hatched.

Folks with the Tybee Island Sea Turtle Project say the season has been very successful so far and they want to make sure it stays that way.

Even though hatching season has started, it doesn’t mean that nesting season is over. So keeping the beach dark, litter-free and removing any obstacles on the beach when you leave is very important.

When people come to the beach, Tammy Smith, the Tybee Island Sea Turtle Coordinator, says all of these things can be very dangerous for the mom turtle trying to nest or babies trying to get to the water when they hatch. Smith says when they notice a nest hatch, permitted volunteers will excavate it. Then they conduct inventories to collect data on how many eggs hatched. If there are any live babies, they’ll be released. Smith says there are some signs people can look out for to know whether one has hatched.

“You would definitely see baby tracks or babies coming out of the nest area. Or sometimes if it happens on an overcast or rainy situation we might have a straggler or two come out of a nest, emerge out of a nest, thinking it’s night time. Certainly just call us. You can call the number on the sign that’s listed or you can certainly reach out to the science center,” Smith said.

Smith says about 20 years ago they had an average of three nests on the island, so she says they’ve come a long way with conservation efforts with DNR, the lights out campaign and bringing awareness to people.

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