First turtle nest of the 2021 season hatches in Holden Beach

Holden Beach Turtle Patrol (video from 2017)

First turtle nest of 2021 season hatches in Holden Beach. (Source: Town of Holden Beach)
First turtle nest of 2021 season hatches in Holden Beach. (Source: Town of Holden Beach)

The first turtle nest of the 2021 season in North Carolina was laid in Holden Beach back in May. Last week, the baby turtles hatched and made their way to their new home.

According to the Town of Holden Beach, an early morning rider for the Holden Beach Turtle Patrol found hatchlings emerging from nest #1 early the morning of July 14.

“The adoption team quickly assembled on the beach in time to assist 87 newly hatched turtles into the ocean,” they said on their Facebook page.

(Town of Holden Beach)
(Town of Holden Beach)

In addition to this nest breaking records for being the first laid and the first to hatch, it was also special for another reason. The nest was laid by a Kemp’s Ridley turtle which are the most endangered of all the sea turtles that nest in North Carolina. They are also the smallest sea turtle weighing around 70 to 100 pounds.

Over the weekend, the Holden Beach Turtle Patrol inventoried the nest, which is a process they do to look for any hatchlings that may have been trapped in the nest.

“The also counted all of the egg shells and looked for any unhatched eggs,” the Town of Holden Beach said. “With a crowd of vacationers and assisting the Turtle Patrol members, nest #1 was inventoried. The team found 90 hatched shells.”

The Town of Holden Beach says they currently have an additional 54 nests on the beach and nesting for mother turtles are expected for another month. A record number of 105 nests were laid on Holden Beach in 2019.

If you’re interested in learning more about sea turtles, the Holden Beach Turtle Watch Program conducts educational programs throughout turtle nesting season. Remaining programs this season will be held Wednesdays – July 21, 28, and August 8. They will include Children’t Turtle Time for 3, 4, 5, and 6 year olds at 4 p.m. Turtle Talk will be held at 7 p.m. for the entire family. Both events are held at the Holden Beach Chapel. Click here for more information.

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