Two leatherback turtle nests found along Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Published 3:58 pm Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Two leatherback sea turtles have nested on Cape Hatteras National Seashore this season thus far. Since keeping record (over 20 years), this is the first time CHNS has had two nests in one season.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore made the announcement on Facebook.

The two nests were found exactly one week apart. The first leatherback nest was found in Avon on June 19 and the second nest was found on Ocracoke Island June 26. Last year, CHNS had one leatherback nest which successfully hatched.

Get the latest headlines sent to you

Leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) are classified as endangered at both the federal and state levels. They are known to migrate great distances, often traversing entire ocean basins several times a year in search of their preferred food, jellyfish. Female leatherbacks typically lay between 4-8 clutches in a season, nesting approximately every 10 days. Given this pattern, it’s highly likely that both nests belong to the same female.

On July 2, 2024, the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Field Summary reported the following:

American oystercatchers: six active nests and 14 chicks on Ocracoke Island

Colonial waterbirds: 178 active nests with 88 on South Point Ocracoke and 76 on Hatteras Island; 54 chicks with 26 at South Point and 24 at Cape Hatteras.

Piping plover: one active nest on South Point Ocracoke and two chicks

Wilson’s plover: no active nests, but five chicks on South Point Ocracoke.

Sea Turtles: 125 nests with 72 on Hatteras Island and 51 on Ocracoke. Pea Island is reporting 15 turtle nests.