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

Aug 25, 2014

A loggerhead hatchling makes it's way to the ocean at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Credit 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.