Blog Post By: Christine Segnari, Sea Turtle Intern
On Edisto Beach State Park, Loggerhead Sea Turtles face several predators including ghost crabs, racoons, laughing gulls, and, occasionally, other loggerhead turtles. (“Other loggerhead turtles” is referring to when turtles lay their eggs on top of another nest and crush the eggs of their own nest or the other nest when trying to cover their eggs). However, on other beaches and in the wild, these turtles have tiger sharks, coyotes, and humans as their predators. Humans contribute to turtle’s endangerment through discarding fishing lines and plastic. More commonly, in necropsies plastic is found in turtles’ stomachs. Additionally, boat strikes are common to Loggerhead Sea Turtles causing them to be injured or possibly die.
Last week on Dawn Patrol, we followed a stressed turtle’s tracks up into the vegetation. Her tracks came up into the vegetation, did a loop around, came back down and went back into the vegetation, did another loop around, and then her tracks returned into the ocean. Back by one of the vegetation spots, there was an abandoned egg chamber surrounded by raccoon prints. Additionally, there were raccoon prints all over her tracks, meaning she was most likely bothered by raccoons while trying to lay her eggs. Though this is the first time I have seen something like this, raccoons are most one of our devastating predators on Edisto Beach State Park. They can get into nests quickly and eat a large amount of the eggs inside one nest. This summer, one nest lost 99 eggs overnight due to raccoons.
Sea Turtle Specialist