We are proud to have a nice population of sea turtles that nest each year on our beaches, however many babies never make the return trip to the Atlantic. We average at 30 nests a season with a mom laying 125 eggs every 2 weeks throughout the summer. Right now, there are only 3 marked nests, but it is still very early as the season ends October 31. Loggerheads are the most popular kind that visits our area.
There are a few things you can do to help babies make their trip safely. Since they are easily confused by lights on the beach, they follow the moon, please do not bring flashlights or use bright cell phones on the beach to find them. The only lights allowed during this time would be red filtered flashlights. Turn off the lights in your home if you are oceanfront. Don’t leave holes or sandcastles on the beaches as it could create obstacles for the babies. Don’t disturb any mothers and the Tybee Island Marine Science Center would love if you reported any turtle activity. They stake off the area and report it to the DNR. Keep in mind that it is a federal offense under the Endangered Species Act to disturb the turtles or their nests.
Hwy. 80 is the main road coming onto the island. There are marshlands on both sides which another kind of turtle is native to as they enjoy the brackish water. They cross the highway in many spots, not just the designated area. Please be aware and slow down as you drive through as many are killed by traffic each year. These are diamondback terrapins, usually females which are looking for higher ground to nest unfortunately. In 2005, there were a recorded 260 deaths on the roadways for these little turtles. 8% were found injured and were taken to a rehabilitation center. They are even able to save eggs from pregnant females and hatch those in their center. So, help us protect and save all of our turtles! Everybody is important to the ecosystem and deserves a chance to thrive.