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Turtle Talk
Every Wednesday in June, July and August, at 7 p.m. the Turtle Patrol conducts weekly educational sessions. These free programs are held at the Holden Beach Town Hall at 110 Rothschild Street (near the bridge/under the water tower). The doors will open at 6:30 p.m.  Seating is limited, so get there early.
Turtle Talk
Turtle talk is hosted by the educational committee. This program focuses on the life cycle of the sea turtle, and how the Holden Beach Turtle program aids in the preservation of sea turtles. A short video presentation will be shown with a question and answer segment to follow. Several turtle artifacts will be on display for viewing and informational handouts are available. Please plan on arriving a few minutes early since seating is limited and the program will begin promptly at 7:00 PM.
Turtle Talk is open to all family members and is enjoyed by people of all ages.  There is no admission charge but donations are greatly appreciated.  Support for the Holden Beach Turtle Patrol comes solely from donations and the proceeds from the sale of our annual Turtle Patrol T-shirts.

Each year, the Holden Beach Turtle Patrol sells a newly designed T-shirt. Many people collect this shirts, year after year. Some claim to have all of them.

This year’s Holden Beach Turtle Watch Program shirts are available before and after the Wednesday Turtle Talk programs (cash or personal checks accepted) and at The Lighthouse Gifts located on the causeway (look for the green awning with pink dots and the pink “Turtle Watch Shirts Here” sign).


Plan on coming out for a fun and fact filled evening and learn about these amazing marine turtles.

The most common turtle to appear on North Carolina beaches is the Loggerhead turtle
(caretta caretta)

Turtle facts
(Caretta caretta)

Large thick head;
broad, short neck

WEIGHT & SIZE 200-400 pounds
FAVORITE FOODS jellyfish, crabs, shrimp
LIFESPAN up to 100 years
NEST SIZE 100 or more eggs
HATCHING Occurs from 55 to 89 days from the date laid
THREATS pollution, poaching, fishing, and habitat loss

more facts...

  • Sea Turtles Predate Dinosaurs and have existed for over 200 million years.
  • Sea Turtles have lived to be over 100 years old in captivity.
  • Sea Turtles love to eat jelly fish, sponges, algae, sea grasses and crustaceans.
  • A mature female turtle (20-30 years) will return to her natal beach every 2-3 years
    to lay 1 to 7 nests with an average of 4 nests.
  • Bright house lights that face the ocean will confuse nesting mothers and hatchlings.
  • The population of Sea Turtles is threatened by pollution, poaching, and habitat loss.
  • There are 8 species of Sea Turtles. 5 visit North Carolina: The Loggerhead, Hawksbill,
    Kemp's Ridley, Green (green sea turtle) and Leatherback.
  • Mature Loggerhead Turtles weigh up to 400 pounds
  • A Fine of up to $100,000 and or 1 year in prison is the penalty for harassing a Sea Turtle or disturbing its nest.
  • There are typically 100-125 eggs in each nest.
  • The temperature of the sand determines the sex of the hatchlings (the hotter the sand, the more females develop and cooler sand results in more males.
  • The average weight of a mature Loggerhead Turtle is 250 to 400 pounds.
  • Our ATV riders average over 2400 miles a year in routine beach patrols.

One of the many exhibits at Turtle Talk

You can help!
    • To report mother turtles laying nests, injured or stranded turtles, unattended hatchlings, disturbed nests or harassment of a sea turtle call our 24-hour pager 910-754-0766 and leave your full phone number. Your call will usually be returned in less than 5 minutes. Please use this number only for turtle emergencies. 
    • At night before retiring, turn off all lights that face the ocean, including carports, and, if staying up late, close blinds and draperies in oceanfront rooms between May 1st and October 31st.
    • Please be sure that there is a red turtle magnet with the pager number posted on your refrigerator. Magnets are available at the Holden Beach Town Hall and at Turtle Talk.
    • Use a red filtered flashlight when walking on the beach at night. Red cloth to put over your flashlight is available at the Turtle Talk program or any island realtor’s office.
    • Pick up any trash, especially plastic, from the beach. Do not release balloons on the beach.  These items look like jellyfish to sea turtles.
    • Fill in any large sand hole you dig before nightfall, they could trap a turtle, cause a night or early morning beach water to fall and possibly break a leg and cause an accident to Turtle Patrol ATV riders in the early morning.
    • New Regulation on Holden Beach as of April 23, 2011.  All unattended beach equipment must be removed from the beach each day between 6 pm. And 7 a.m.  This insures a clear path for mother turtles to lay their nests.

Mother Turtle


Most of the Sea Turtles calling Holden Beach home are Loggerhead Turtles. However, occasionally a Green Turtle visits us. Once a Sea Turtle crawl is found, A team of Turtle Patrol Members assemble at the crawl location to find the eggs. If the nest is in an unsafe location, the nest will be relocated to a safer area on the beach. The nest site is then marked off with stakes, ribbon, and a warning sign that informs people that this is a Sea Turtle Nest and is Protected By The Endangered Species Act.

For the next 55-70 Days of Incubation, the nest will be monitored until hatching. At that time, Turtle Patrol Members account for each hatchling or non fertile egg and insure that the babies make it safely into the ocean. This process is repeated with each and every nest.

Instructor at Turtle Talk

Only females come ashore and that is to lay their eggs. To nest, they return to the beach where they were hatched. They will lay an average of 100 eggs per nest and will nest 4-7 times each nesting season which is every 2-3 years.

The incubation period is approximatley 60 days.

Unfortunately, it is believed that only 1 in 10,000 hatchlings will reach maturity. The biggest enemy of the sea turtle is the encroachment of man in the sea turtle habitat.This includes boat propellers, fishing gear, debris and trash, construction on nesting beaches, artificial lights, and pollution.

Natural predators to eggs and hatchlings are ghost crabs, foxes, raccoons, birds, and dogs on land and large fish in the ocean.

The nesting season begins on Holden Beach in May and ends in September.


Children learning at Turtle Talk


See more photos here...

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