HATTERAS, N.C. (WNCN) — Sea turtle hatching season has started on the North Carolina coast.
From Ocean Isle Beach and Holden Beach in Brunswick County up to Cape Hatteras on the Outer Banks, baby sea turtles are climbing out of their nests and following their instincts out to the sea.
The first reports of hatchlings were about two weeks ago in southern Brunswick County.
At the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, several nests have hatched so far, with many more in their “hatching window,” officials said Sunday morning.
The hatch window is typically between 50 to 60 days of incubation, according to Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
Around that time, park biologists install black filter fencing to help reduce light pollution and guide the baby sea turtle to the ocean.
Given the hatchlings’ small size, there are now more reminders for beachgoers to fill in holes dug in the sand on beaches. The tiny sea turtles can get trapped in even a small hole — and never make it to the ocean.
The first Loggerhead Sea Turtle nest that hatched on Ocracoke Island was on July 23.
One hatchling was found when the nest was routinely inventoried and excavated a few days after the babies hatched. The straggler was then released into the ocean.