May is here and so is the start of the sea turtle nesting season here at Atlantic Beach. Every year hundreds of sea turtles come to our beaches in late spring to make their nests. And when you stay in one of our Oceanfront vacation rentals, you may have the opportunity to see a nest or even a turtle. Let’s look at what you need to know about the turtle nesting at Atlantic Beach below.
When is Sea Turtle Nesting Season?
Many locals love this time of the year not only because of the warmer temps but also in hopes to see a sea turtle. Beginning on May 1st each year is the start of one of the most magical times on the Crystal Coast. This is the start of the sea turtles nesting season and it’s something you don’t want to miss each year while on vacation. During the night is when you may see the turtles come to the shore and lay their eggs in the nests they have built. All along the coast of North Carolina is where you will find most of the nests and the eggs. Sea turtle nesting season doesn’t end until the end of October every year so while you are on vacation to Atlantic Beach this summer, know that it is sea turtle nesting season.
Help Protect our Sea Turtles on the Crystal Coast
Atlantic Beach takes protecting our sea turtles very serious as they have made their home on our beautiful shore. There are several local volunteers that check out the beaches each morning in search of new nests that were built the night before. These volunteers do mark each new nest with a protective grating, marked with stakes, ribbons and a warning sign. Each nest is monitored for the next 50-70 days for their safety and for any activity of when they are ready to hatch. Here are a few rules to follow while you are vacationing to Atlantic Beach during turtle nesting season:
- Don’t disturb the nests or the grating that are covering the nests. These grates help keep predators away from the eggs and hatchlings.
- Don’t use your flashlight on your phone and don’t leave the outdoor lights on overnight at your Oceanfront vacation rental. The turtles use the moonlight to help guide them to the ocean and any other lights will distract them from what they came to shore to complete.
- Fill up any holes that you and your family may have dug during the day. Not only can the sea turtles but also other people can fall into the holes which can injury themselves.
- Please clean up after your day at the beach and don’t leave any of your beach equipment on the beach overnight.
- Please keep the beaches clean from any trash or plastic on the days you spend at the beach. We like to keep our beaches free of trash to help with the new hatchlings as much as we can.
- If you see a mother who is in distress, injured or any unmarked nests, please contact the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores at 252-247-4003.
While there are many other things you can do to help protect the nests and hatchlings while you are on vacation, these are the most important that we wanted to share with you. If you haven’t made your vacation reservations, check out our Atlantic Beach vacation rentals today. We can’t wait to see you and your family on your next vacation to the Crystal Coast this summer!