Network for Endangered Sea Turtles 24 HR. HOTLINE 252-441-8622

Brand new ATV driver Andy found a turtle nest within five minutes of starting his inaugural run.  This Loggerhead mom did a great job hiding her nest.  It was a very confusing crawl and nest site.  She came up the beach, spun around, looped past a pile of sand, and then headed back towards the ocean before finally laying her nest.  She liked the view of the ocean better than looking at the dune.

Complicated crawl that looped around the beach

The responding team, with the guidance from our Wildlife Commission partner Karen, analyzed the nest from every angle.  We made a plan and found the eggs almost immediately!  Unfortunately, this section of the beach sustains a lot of ongoing erosion and the nest will need to be moved.  The team worked together to collect the eggs and gather the nest measurements so we can recreate an identical nest in a safer location.

Eggs being removed from the nest and put into egg cartons for transfer

 

Egg cartons placed in a cooler and on the move to their new home

The team quickly assembled at the new nest site and recreated a nest with the same measurements as mom’s original nest.  The eggs are gently placed into the nest chamber.  The team keeps the same orientation and order of the eggs as they are pulled from the original nest.  We even bring with us sand found in the original nest chamber so everything mom left in her nest transfers to the new nest.

Team relocating eggs to the new nest site

Next a DNA sample is collected.  This consists of an eggshell where mom’s DNA rubs off onto the shell as she produces her eggs.  This DNA sample is part of a large east coast project where DNA is collected from sea turtle nests from Virginia to Florida.  We have found some fascinating facts through this study.  Visit the website section Nest Science and you will find a section entitled DNA study.

Volunteer is collecting a DNA sample

As you can see below a storm started to roll in.  The team quickly set up the protective barrier for the nest and collected some final measurements on the new nest site.  The team got off the beach just as the rain came.  This was great teamwork.  Congratulations Nest 21.

Storm approaching by relocation site

  • nest number: 21
  • town: Corolla
  • date eggs laid: 07/02/2022
  • total eggs: 120

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