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Visiting Hours: We are closed to the public.  See below for additional information. Thank you.

Sea Turtle Nesting

New Volunteer Orientation Dates 2018:

April 10th 6-8:30 PM

April 17th 1- 3:30 PM

Surf City Welcome Center

More info please email: topsailseaturtle@aol.com

Topsail Island has 26 miles of coastline. Each mile is surveyed every morning to identify sea turtle tracks and nests from May through August.

In North Carolina the nesting season is mid-May through August. The Loggerhead Sea Turtle comes ashore to nest 3 to 5 times during a nesting year. She deposits an average of 120 eggs per nest. The eggs will incubate in the sand for about 60 days.

After all the hatchlings have pipped out of their eggs, they emerge from the nest together and race to the sea. Weighing in at about two ounces, their first challenge on our beach is escaping the deadly grasp of the ghost crabs. Once in the water they must hide from both bird and fish predators, and the swim to sea weed rafts and the Sargasso Sea begins.

It is a long swim to maturity. It is estimated that 1 in 1000 survives the first year, and as few as 1 in 5,000 – 10,000 survive to adulthood. No one has the answer to this. In 20 to 30 years the surviving hatchlings will reach adulthood. The females will return to their natal beaches to lay their eggs and the cycle begins again.

Sea Turtle Nesting Dates


TB = Topsail Beach
SC = Surf City (north/south of bridge)
NTB = North Topsail Beach (north/south of bridge)

May 01