Even Sea Turtles Love the Outer Banks
Yes, it ‘s true, even the sea turtles love to vacation on the Outer Banks. Well, maybe not a vacation, but each year dozens of these majestic creatures visit our beaches to nest and continue the cycle of life. If you have the chance to interact with these beautiful creatures during your Outer Banks beach vacation, there are a few things that you should know. Here is everything you wanted to know about the Sea Turtles that visit the OBX.
Did You Know?
5 Species Visit the OBX
Loggerhead (Most commonly found on the OBX beaches)
Green (common on the OBX)
Leatherback (largest species)
Hawksbill (very rare)
5 Facts About Sea Turtles
They live almost entirely at sea and breathe.
Largest species can weigh 2,000 pounds.
Sea Turtles can live up to 100 yrs.
Female turtles can lay up to 100 eggs at a time.
The Cycle of Life
As we mentioned above, Sea Turtles are migratory. Each year, female Sea Turtles return to the spot where they were born to continue the cycle of life by nesting on their home beach. As the Sea Turtle makes her way up the beach, she uses magnetic fields, the slope of the shore, and moonlight to find her way to the perfect spot.
Once ashore, the female uses her flippers to dig a nest and then lay her eggs, called a clutch. Each turtle can lay up to 100 eggs, which sounds like a lot, but did you know only 1 of 1,000-10,000 eggs survives! Each turtle nests every 2-3 years and can lay four clutches a year. That's a lot of eggs!
About 60 days after being laid, the eggs will hatch. The temperature of the sand determines the sex of the baby Sea Turtles. Warm sand results in female Sea Turtles, and cold sand results in male turtles. As a result of the Outer Banks being part of the northern extreme of the Sea Turtle's nesting grounds, the Outer Banks is responsible for a vast majority of the male Sea Turtle population.
Hatchlings slowly make there way out of the nest and head for the ocean. Like their mothers, they use a combination of light, magnetic fields, wave action, and the slope of the beach to find their way to the surf. Once in the ocean, the hatchlings will swim for 24-36 hours to reach the Gulf Stream and the nutrient-rich seaweed beds where they'll spend the next ten years. Few will survive this trying ordeal.
Did You Find A Sea Turtle Nest?
If you happen to come across a Sea Turtle nest there are a few things you should do.
1- Keep your distance. Stay at least 30 feet away.
2- Immediately call (252) 216-6892 to report the nest.
3- Never use flash photography or flashlights if you find the nest at night.
4- Make sure all pets are on a leash.
5- Remove any trash, debris or artificial items like chairs or blankets from the path of the sea turtle.
Sea Turtles Need Your Help
Sea Turtles are tough in a lot of ways. They can travel thousands of miles across oceans and seas, and they live for almost a hundred years. Rough water, climate change, fishing nets, pollution, pets, and even lights can cause significant harm to sea turtles. Here are three ways that you can help make sure our OBX Sea Turtles continue to thrive on on our beaches. During your Outer Banks beach vacation make sure to follow these three steps, and do your part to protect our most beloved visitors.
No pets please
One of the biggest threats to Sea Turtle nests are dogs. Even the best behaved dogs love to dig on the beach. Make sure during your OBX vacation that your pet is always on a leash.
Turn off the lights
Artificial light can cause all sorts of problems for adult and baby sea turtles. One way Sea turtles navigate is by moonlight. Make sure to turn of exterior lights on your beach cottage.
Clean up the beach
You might not think leaving a volleyball net, or beach chair on the beach overnight is dangerous to sea turtles, but they can be. Any obstruction on the beach can cause a nesting sea turtle to turn around and return to the sea without nesting.
Seeing a Sea Turtle is just one of the many things that can make an Outer Banks beach vacation special. With loads of history, family friendly activities, and even heart pounding adventures, there is something around every corner and over every dune that will remind you just why you chose an OBX vacation. Give us a call today at (866) 760-3526 to book your Outer Banks vacation rental. Who knows, you just might get to see a Sea Turtle!