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

Well it is officially August and the turtles are still coming ashore to lay their eggs.  This year the Outer Banks has turned out to be a very popular nesting destination.  Below is a picture of the crawl and nest site made by this Loggerhead turtle.

Crawl and nesting site of a Loggerhead turtle

Every nest laid within our area, from the Virginia line through Nags Head, is part of a DNA sea turtle study.  We collect one egg shell from each nest.  A research team analyzes the DNA of participating sites from North Carolina down to Florida.  The information is compiled with an end product allowing us to see which mom’s laid nests in our area this year.  It tells us if they exclusively laid nests in our area or traveled up and down the east coast leaving eggs in several states.  They can even trace lineage of grandmothers, mothers, daughters and siblings.  Sometimes we see similar patterns at nest sites and can use the DNA results to see if a sea turtle has a preference in where and how they lay their nest.

Eggshell packaged in a vial for DNA analysis

For instance, this sea turtle did a face plant after climbing up the dune to lay her nest.  We had a similar nest earlier in the summer.  It will be fun to see if this was the same mom that laid both nests.  Below is a picture of this sea turtle mom’s signature move.  She climbs up the dune, does a face plant, then digs her nest chamber.

Can you see this sea turtles face plant into the dune?

The responding team did a great job finding the nest chamber, collecting data and setting up a perimeter to protect this nest until the hatchlings are ready to emerge.  Congratulations to nest #37 Responding Team lead by Tony with a special guest appearance by KC.

Nest 37 Responding Team




  • nest number: 37
  • town: Duck
  • date eggs laid: 08/01/2022
  • actual emergence date: 10-4-2022
  • live hatchlings: 107
  • total eggs: 114

See all active nests