It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
From Texas to South Carolina, coastal communities throughout the South are celebrating the first sea turtle hatches of the season.
Sea Turtle Patrol Hilton Head Island revealed the first hatchlings of the season Wednesday, which just so happened to come from the island’s first sea turtle nest of the season.
“Wow, this hardly ever happens!! Our first nest laid, was the first nest to hatch!” the organization announced on Facebook. “Today’s hearty herd of HHI HATCHLINGS have made it to their ocean home!! HOORAY!!”
Volunteers and wildlife experts are now anxiously waiting for the island’s more than 200 other nests to follow suit.
On Texas’ Padre Island, the National Park Service has begun its public hatchling releases. The next release of Kemp’s ridley hatchlings is set for July 23. In Southwest Florida, the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation is currently monitoring more than 550 sea turtle nests, some of which have already begun to hatch.
As nesting season continues, residents and visitors are asked to help protect sea turtles by cleaning up after trips to the beach, filling in holes, knocking down sandcastles, and most importantly, by keeping lights off at night.
“From dusk until dawn, you can help hatchling sea turtles survive their journey to the ocean by turning off all beach-facing lights, closing blinds and drapes on ocean-facing windows and avoiding flashlight and flash photography use on the beach,” South Carolina Department of Natural Resources urged its followers on Facebook last year.
WATCH: Hilton Head Island Visitor Saves “Exhausted” Nesting Sea Turtle
Female sea turtles will continue to nest for the next month or so. Sea turtle eggs have an incubation period of about two months, so be on alert for these endangered creatures through October.
Go little turtles, go!
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