Folly Beach Sea Turtle Update: July 2023

folly beach sea turtle

We finished the first half of July with nests 108 and 109. This makes 2023 our #2 year in nests, surpassing the 108 nests in 2013; and second only to the banner year of 2019 that set records for everyone in South Carolina (Folly Beach had 145).

We still have not had any of our nests emerge (hatch). It was an unusually cold May and the incubation times are prolonged with colder temperatures. But the hatchlings will be here very soon!!

During the hatching season, it is especially important to ensure our beach is dark all night – no artificial lights from 10pm until dawn. Artificial light attracts hatchlings away from the ocean and into the dunes where their fate is certainly gruesome – death by dehydration, death by ghost crab, or death by being run over in the street. Thank you for helping our sea turtles.

Sea Turtle Do’s and Don’ts

• Never disturb a sea turtle, crawling to or from the ocean
• Observe a nesting sea turtle from a distance of 50 feet or more
• Do not shine lights on a sea turtle or take flash photography. Use red light flashlights
• Turn out all lights visible from the beach from 10pm to dawn from May 1 to October 31
• Turn off all outdoor and deck lighting to reduce disorientation for nesting adults and hatchlings
• Close blinds and drapes on windows that face the beach
• Fill in the holes on the beach at the end of each day as adults and hatchlings can become trapped
• Take chairs, tents, trash, etc. off the beach when you leave each day

Learn more and view an excellent presentation from Melissa Ranly, the manager of the Sea Turtle Care Center at the Charleston Aquarium.