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The number of sea turtle nests found this year so far in the Outer Banks closing in on last year's total

Sea turtle crawls into the sea.
National Parks Service’s Outer Banks Group
Sea turtle crawls into the sea.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore is also hoping to break last year’s overall record of 379 total sea turtle nests.

Officials with the Cape Hatteras National Seashore reported that 211 sea turtle nests were found this season so far, making it close to last year’s record of 216.

Sea turtles are an endangered species. Their nests are along Bodie Island, Hatteras Island and Ocracoke Island.

“We've got 196 loggerhead turtles, which is our most common. 11 green sea turtles, which is [our] second most common nesters," said Michelle Tongue, the Deputy Chief of Resource Management and Science for the National Parks Service’s Outer Banks Group. "And then we have a couple different rare ones. We have one leatherback on Ocracoke. And then three Kemp’s Ridley which are in Hatteras districts."

Tongue has some tips for beachgoers who may encounter nesting sea turtles.

“Turn out your lights,” she said. “Oftentimes, most of our nesters nest at night because artificial light can disorient them, cause them to do what we call a ‘false crawl,’ which is when they curl up on the beach and then crawl back to the water without actually depositing eggs.

Tongue said the public should also fill holes before leaving the beach and to pick up trash, so turtles don’t mistake it as food.

Sharryse Piggott is WUNC’s PM Reporter.
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