Jun 18 2019

Protecting the Loggerheads (and how you can help)

Loggerhead sea turtles are an endangered species that nest along Folly Beach, and all along the southeastern US shore.

They crawl up the shore from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean to dig a nest in the sand and release their clutch (eggs). Once loggerheads release their clutch, they cover the nest with sand and crawl back into the water.

Loggerhead sea turtles are an endangered species that nest along Folly Beach, and all along the southeastern US shore.

They crawl up the shore from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean to dig a nest in the sand and release their clutch (eggs). Once loggerheads release their clutch, they cover the nest with sand and crawl back into the water.

While the lucky few will get the chance to see this happen, many will only know that sea turtles were around by viewing their tracks in the sand.

Residents and visitors need to be aware of and abide by specific rules on the beach, the most important of which involves light pollution.

Here are some ways you can help protect loggerheads:

Turn off the lights

All lights on the beach must be turned off at dusk from May 1 through October 31. Please also close drapes if indoor lights are visible on the beach.
When on the beach at night, use approved red-light flashlights.

Sea turtle hatchlings are confused by and drawn to artificial light.
That means when they hatch, instead of heading into the ocean, they can move toward street lights, homes, and other sources of artificial light.

Do not touch turtles or the eggs

Never touch a turtle or their eggs. It can be really exciting to see them but it’s best to watch from a distance.

Not everyone understands this though. A number of recent complaints have shown up in the local news and include disturbing examples. “We get folks trying to dig up nests,” SDCNR Sea Turtle Specialist Michelle Pate said, one “Even attempting to put children on top of a turtle going back out to the ocean.”

If you see someone harming a turtle, a nest, or see an injured turtle, please report it to the SCDNR at 1-800-922-5431. State, federal, and local laws protect sea turtles.

Clean up the beach

Collect all litter on the beach. Everyone should take their own, but if you see items you can safely remove, pick it up and dispose at trashcans provided at beach access.

Make sure to remove all beach chairs, toys, tents, and other items from the beach before nightfall. It might seem reasonable to leave these things out for the next day but they can keep turtles or make it harder for them to make their way back to the water.

Please fill in any dug holes or moats. That sandcastle was awesome but it is fun to build a new one each day! If you are digging for treasure with your metal detector, don’t forget to fill holes back in.

Keep dogs on a leash

It’s hard to know how dogs will react to turtles and how they might disturb nests but to me safe, they should be on a leash. Make sure to follow the rules when it comes to dogs on Folly Beach. For example, dogs aren’t allowed on the beach at all certain times of the year.

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