Turtle Patrol Report for the Week Ending August 22

Ever wonder what sea turtles do when a hurricane approaches them in the open ocean? The short answer is that they do the same thing we do: head for cover!

In 2011, 18 loggerhead turtles that had been released with tracking devices found themselves in the path of Hurricane Irene. All but three of the turtles moved northward in the open ocean currents to escape the storm. Those that stayed began diving for longer than usual periods of time, sometimes holding their breath for over an hour. Once the storm had passed, the altered behavior lingered. Turtles that had begun to dive for longer periods of time continued to do so for another two weeks. About half of the turtles that had “evacuated” northward returned south to the foraging ground they had just left behind and then immediately continued their southward journey well ahead of when their seasonal migratory patterns would have dictated. We tend to think of these storms mainly having impacts once they reach land, but it’s clear that ocean-bound wildlife feel the impacts as well!

To learn more about what turtles do during hurricanes, click here.

While there were no new nests or wild nests discovered this week, our beach remains busy with nests hatching daily! To date, 49 of our 74 nests have hatched out and inventories have been completed, including both of our “wild nests” – nests 73 and 74. There are still lots of nests out there, so remember to watch your step and refrain from using white lights if you are on the beach at night!

To view this week’s inventory results, click here.

For more information about Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol, go to siturtlepatrol.com 

-Submitted by Joshua Shilko