Anyone who’s spent significant time on Kiawah Island can tell you how dearly the community holds its loggerhead turtles. There’s a patrol dedicated to them. A restaurant named after them. Along with our dune-frolicking deer, golf-course-wandering alligators, and night-prowling bobcats, they’re one of the island’s beloved natural mascots.
The summer is an especially important time for the island—and not just because it’s the best time to work on your sun tan. May begins the nesting season for loggerheads, and July to October is loggerhead turtle hatching season.
Read on to learn more about why Kiawah loves loggerheads and how you can see nesting and hatching season in action.
- Keep the beach clean. Garbage ends up in the oceans, and, sadly, often in the bellies of loggerhead turtles where it can cause serious damage.
- Don’t dig. Playing in the sand is fun, but digging large holes is not allowed on the Kiawah Island beach during nesting season. They can make the journey from tideline to dunes difficult for loggerhead mamas and especially for loggerhead turtle hatchlings.
- Give loggerhead turtles space. Let them do their thing—they’ve been doing it for millions of years! And never, ever pick up a loggerhead turtle hatchling—no matter how cute it is.
- Turn off your lights. Artificial lights can disorient turtles and derail them from their journey back to the ocean. If you’re in an oceanfront home during nesting season, keep your beach-facing lights turned off. And if you’re exploring the beaches by night, special filters are available for your flashlights and cell phones at the Nature Center. Please avoid ever shining lights directly at a sea turtle.
- Support the turtle patrol. Kiawah Island’s loggerhead turtles and hatchlings depend on a group of trained volunteers to help them survive from egg to ocean. With their help, about 75% of hatchlings make it to the Atlantic. Contact [email protected] to learn more.