Sea Turtles: 2012 Nests Laid-76
Loggerhead Sea Turtle Green Sea Turtle Leatherback Sea Turtle
There are seven species of Sea Turtles but only three species are known to nest on Bald Head Island. Loggerheads lay the most nests here, but we seem to have a few green turtle nests almost every season. In 2010 we had our very first Leatherback. Other Sea Turtles seen off the North Carolina coast are the Kemp Ridley and the Hawksbill.
In 2011, the BHI Conservancy protected 99 nests that were laid. 75 nests hatched. The 6 nests that were relocated prior to Irene hatched successfully. The unhatched nests were due to effects from Hurricane Irene and unfertilized eggs.
Click here for more information on the BHI Leatherback
Watch UNC-TV's Our State segments about Bald Head Island and the Conservancy here
Click here to track sea turtles
Diamondback terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin) inhabit brackish water marshes along the east and gulf coasts of the US. For over a decade, scientists have been documenting local terrapin population declines and evidence suggests that fisheries-related mortalities due to crab pot bycatch may be a major cause of this decline. The 2004 NC Blue Crab Fishery Management Plan states that data on terrapin population distribution and habitat utilization is necessary in order to design effective regulations to minimize interactions between terrapins and crab pots. The primary goal of this study was to use telemetry and remote monitoring to assess the potential for spatial and temporal overlap between terrapin habitat and crab fishing efforts in southeastern NC.
From June 2008 to June 2009, I used radio telemetry to track the seasonal movements and activity patterns of terrapins in Middle and Masonboro Sounds, NC. In September 2009, I initiated a terrapin population assessment and telemetry study on Bald Head Island, NC. These waters serve as important habitat for both terrapins and blue crabs and there have been reports of incidental captures and mortalities of terrapins in crab pots set in these regions. In conjunction with radio telemetry, I used micro-dataloggers to continuously monitor carapace temperatures of terrapins, as well as environmental temperatures. Temperature recordings provided detailed information on daily and seasonal patterns of habitat use and activity.
In addition to addressing a fundamental management need with regards to mitigating interactions between terrapins and blue crab fisheries, my study provides novel information regarding the basic biology and life history of terrapins in southeastern NC.
- Leigh Anne Harden, UNCW Ph.D. student
Yellow-Bellied Sliders - Trachemys scripta
• Yellow Bellied Sliders derive their name from the yellow color of their lower shell, and their tendency to slide into the water when danger approaches.
• Range in size from 5-12 inches, with females growing much larger than males.
• Males exhibit larger claws which they wave in the face of females in order to flirt with them.
• Feed on aquatic insects and vegetation.
• Many of the sliders in the overlook have been “marked,” meaning researchers etched markings into their shells which help them identify individual turtles. This research can help us learn more about the lives of this species, as well as the health of the ecosystem in which they are found.