Pine Knoll Shores police officer Nancy Montanino snapped this photo on World Turtle Day Thursday of a sea turtle while out on the town’s beach.
From May 1 through Oct. 31 is sea turtle nesting and hatching season. To make sure these sea critters are able to safely come and go on the beach, North Carolina Aquarium on Pine Knoll Shores recommends the following:
- Remove all items you bring onto the beach, including chairs, sand toys and umbrellas because these become obstacles for female turtles attempting to nest.
- Fill in any holes and knock down any sand castles to give turtles clear paths to and from the ocean.
- Do not disturb a nesting turtle or a nest. Report the sighting to local authorities to ensure they properly protected and monitored.
- Observe from a distance if you see a nesting mother. Do not use flash photography and stay out of her sight so you don’t scare her.
- Take any trash with you when you leave the beach.
Learn More ways to help sea turtles on the aquarium’s website.
Neighbor to Pine Knoll Shores, Emerald Isle reminds visitors to keep outside lights off because they disturb nesting mother turtles and distract hatching baby turtles and that the noise from fireworks, which are illegal in the state, keeps mother turtles from coming on shore to nest and disturbs baby turtles during hatching.
If walking the beach at night, the town of Atlantic Beach recommends using flashlights with a red filter so as not distract or deter the turtles and keep your pets and children away from designated nest sites on the beach.
If you spot any nesting turtles, or injured and dead turtles, contact the aquarium at 252-247-4003.