First turtle nest of season found in Beaufort County

Sea turtle hatchlings

Nesting season for loggerhead turtles started a little more than a week ago, and Beaufort County already has its first nest.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources says on Tuesday, a female loggerhead laid the first nest of the season on Daufuskie Island.

Daufuskie usually gets fewer than 100 nests each year and one of the turtle volunteers says it was a "textbook nest."

This is the first time in several years that the first nest in South Carolina has been found in the southern part of the state.

The trained volunteers who found the nest, extracted one egg for ongoing genetic research and then taped off the nest and put up the sign to keep people away.

The second nest of the season was found Wednesday morning on Kiawah Island.

Sea turtle nests average about 120 eggs that hatch after about 60 days. Females can lay up to six nests each season.

Four species of sea turtles nest on South Carolina beaches: loggerheads, greens, Kemp's rideleys, and leatherbacks. All four species are listed as endangered or threatened and are protected under law.

DNR officers remind people to keep artificial lights off the beach at night, keep a good distance from turtles and their nests, and report any sick or injured sea turtles or nest disturbances to the South Carolina DNR at 800-922-5431

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