Temperatures are finally warming up as is turtle activity…
April turtle happenings
This month is when mating takes place for loggerheads usually near shore. After mating, nesting will occur 2 weeks later. Beaches to our south usually get the first nests. As the ocean temperature warms to around 75 degrees, nesting in our area begins. Currently, the water is about 63 degrees so we have a way to go. Typically, our first nest is in mid-May.
Leatherback turtles are migrating north after nesting in Central & South America. They are heading to the cold waters of the North Atlantic to forage and spend the summer months. Because of their massive size (up to 70 in.) and weight (up to 2000 lbs.) they are able to maintain their body heat unlike the other 6 species of sea turtles that must rely on their environment for warmth. Along their migratory route, they are feeding on the large cannonball jellyfish we now see on our beaches. Leatherbacks forage on the surface so their large dark bodies are quite visible just beyond shore from mid-April through May. SCDNR will begin aerial surveys April 15 documenting numbers of leatherbacks.