July 18, 2013
Park Service offers visitors
close-up look at sea turtle nests
spring and summer, female sea turtles -- loggerhead, green, and
occasional leatherback -- make a brief trip to the shores of Cape
Hatteras National Seashore to nest. Approximately two months
later, under the cover of darkness, up to 150 hatchlings emerge from
each sandy nest in a mad dash across the beach to reach the safety of
the Atlantic Ocean.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore is offering
park visitors an opportunity to observe excavations of recently hatched
sea turtle nests during the months of July, August, and
September. An “excavation” is the process completed by biologists
to document what remains in the nest after a natural hatch has occurred.
an excavation, the biologists will dig up the nest, count eggshells,
and collect un-hatched eggs for research. Live hatchlings are
sometimes found during these excavations. While the biologists perform
their examination of the nest, a park ranger will present a program on
sea turtles and share what the biologists have found.
excavations are an important way for the National Park Service to
collect valuable data on sea turtle hatching and emergence success
rates. This data is added to the turtle nesting databases for the
seashore and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.
interested in finding out when and where an excavation will take place
can call the excavation program hotline at (252) 475-9629 -- the first
excavation of the season will take place in late July. The
programs will continue into September.
Because of the
unpredictability of sea turtle hatchings, notice of these excavations
programs will usually occur only one day in advance, so check the
For general information on the Outer Banks Group national park sites, visit www.nps.gov/caha, www.nps.gov/wrbr, www.nps.gov/fora; Twitter @CapeHatterasNPS, @WrightBrosNPS, @FortRaleighNPS; or call 252-473-2111.
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