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Fewer Turtle Nests Found On Cape Hatteras This Year - Why Scientists Aren't Worried

USFWS/Southeast

The Cape Hatteras National Seashore researchers found at least 121 turtle nests since May. That's about half the record number of nests found last summer.

But Research Coordinator Britta Muiznieks says this year's count is average and she's not worried.

"Sea turtles don't nest every year. They nest every two to three years. There are no alarm bells going off because our numbers are declining compared to last year," she says.

Muiznieks adds that the sea turtles made fewer "false crawls" this year. That's when a turtle climbs on land, but doesn't find a suitable place to lay eggs, so it climbs back into the water before trying again.

Muiznieks says this means turtles laid more often than not. She credits the 2011 nighttime ban on beach driving for allowing turtles to lay their eggs in peace.

Rebecca Martinez produces podcasts at WUNC. She’s been at the station since 2013, when she produced Morning Edition and reported for newscasts and radio features. Rebecca also serves on WUNC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Committee.
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