Did you know that Fripp Island is one the 50 beaches in South Carolina that monitors and surveys the nests of Loggerhead sea turtles? Loggerheads are our state reptile and, according to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, their population has declined three percent every year since we began monitoring them in 1980.
Our Fripp Island Turtle Team is a group of volunteers that works tirelessly every summer to take inventory of the Loggerhead nests. They carefully track where the Loggerhead mommas lay their eggs and monitor them until they are ready to hatch and head back out into the ocean. Incredibly, 6,699 Loggerhead eggs have hatched on our Fripp Island in 2015 alone!
According to our Head Naturalist, there are three things that you can do to make Fripp Island as safe as possible for our beloved Loggerhead sea turtles.
One: keep your lights off at night on the beach (this kills at least a few dozen babies a year here, plus the mommas could possibly choose not nest if the beach is too bright).
Two: fill in holes and level sandcastles (babies and mommas can fall in and die if they are there too long!).
Three: don’t leave trash or belongings on the beach (again, this can end up killing turtles of all ages)
Adult Loggerhead sea turtles typically weigh almost 300lbs, which is quite a difference from the tiny hatchlings that we see of Fripp every summer! The females reproduce around the age of 35 and, incredibly, they tend to return to the beach where they hatched to build their nests. This means that we’ll be seeing some of our hatchlings again in 2050. Until then, we wish them all the best of luck!