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

A rainy Monday morning ATV turtle patrol turns exciting when Jeff B. finds the tracks of a newly laid nest on the beach.  Immediately the N.E.S.T. hotline puts out a call for volunteers.  Team Lead Jerrica R. assembles her volunteers and they make a plan of where to look for eggs.  The nest site below shows the body pit created as the turtle dug down to bury her eggs.  The mound of thrown sand behind the body pit is where the eggs are hidden by mama turtle.

Nest 29 tracks and nesting site

The girls make quick work of digging down to the exact location of the eggs.  Its amazing to think a sea turtle digs down a couple of feet using their rear flippers.  Scooping out some pretty hard and compacted sand.

Nest chamber with eggs is located

Once the eggs are located, the team removes around 10 eggs so they can drop a data logger into the middle of the nest.  Then the removed eggs are placed back into the nest just like the turtle laid them. This data logger will record hourly temperatures inside the nest.  We use this information to predict approximately when a nest will emerge.

Adding a data logger into the nest

We had some wonderful visitors to the nest as the team was working.  It is always fun to share this experience with others and we love all the great questions.  Here Denise S is showing our new friends what a sea turtle egg looks like.  The look very similar to a ping pong ball.

Sea turtle eggs

Finally the team secures the nest site.  They will place stakes, rebar and a sign to mark the nest spot.  Measurements of these items and even the level of the sand in relation to the posts help us identify where the nest is located in case a storm comes and changes the sand on the beach.  Sometimes storms take sand away and sometimes they drop lots of sand onto a nest.

Securing the nest site

Finally the work is done and the team joins together for a picture.  Thanks to all the volunteers who braved a rainy day to protect this new nest – you guys are the best!

Nest 29 Responding Team


  • nest number: 29
  • town: Corolla
  • date eggs laid: 07/24/2023
  • actual emergence date: None
  • total eggs: 112

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