Sea turtle nest in Pass Christian close to hatching time

PASS CHRISTIAN, Miss. (WLOX) - Sunday marks 45 days since a female sea turtle laid its eggs underneath the sand of the beach in the Pass.

The experts at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport have been closely monitoring the nest, especially after seeing a nest last year that ended up not being viable.

This year, the hatchlings not only have to face the usual predators like fire ants and crabs, but they must also survive in the extreme heat, and now weather a potential tropical system.

“Sometimes, when there’s heavy rainfall, it may slow the process of them emerging from the nest,” said IMMS Stranding Coordinator Theresa Madrigal. “But, our staff will be down here, keeping an eye on how the progress is going.”

Madrigal said where sea turtles lay their eggs is a strategic decision. If the turtles see any sort of artificial light, they might not make it.

“Both the moms and hatchlings can be affected by bright lights on the beach,” said Madrigal. “The hatchlings are going to look for the reflection of the moon off the water as the direction to where they should crawl.”

So why are turtles laying their eggs here?

“It’s very encouraging for us to see that they are coming back to the Gulf to lay their eggs,” said Madrigal. “Sea turtles do typically return to the beaches they were hatched from. It’s likely that this turtle hatched from somewhere on the Gulf Coast.”

IMMS predicted the hatchlings will make their way to sea within the next 15 days. Stay tuned for more updates on this story.

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Harper Robinson

Harper Robinson

Harper Robinson originally hails from the Hoosier State and graduated with her Bachelor's Degree from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. (Chirp, chirp!)