Hatchling Releases

Photo by Teresa Shumaker.

Photo by Teresa Shumaker.

Hatchling season varies, depending on when the nests are laid. It can begin as early as June and run into August. Public hatchling releases are held at 6:45 a.m. at County Beach Access 3 (approximately ½ mile north of Sea Turtle, Inc). Hatching dates are ESTIMATED… only the hatchlings can decide when they are ready to go! Hatchling season varies, depending on when the nests are laid.

 

How to see a Public Hatchling Release.

It is impossible to predict when the hatchlings will emerge from their nest cavity! 

Not all hatchling releases are open to the public. Hatchlings can only be released when they are in an active state (known as a frenzy). When the hatchlings frenzy in the middle of the night, the hatchlings are released on the isolated northern beaches by trained staff members. These releases are not open to the public. When they frenzy at dawn (between 5-6am), we host a public release. Usually notice for public releases is an hour and a half before the release.

To find out if there COULD be an early morning public release, please call the Sea Turtle, Inc. Hatchling Hotline AFTER 10 p.m.  The recording will tell you whether there is a chance of a release for the next morning. The recording will be updated between 5:45 a.m. to 6 a.m. to say a definite yes or no. If you cannot get through to our hotline, you can also check out our Facebook and Twitter page for any updates. (If you are a member you will get email and text message notifications.)

If you are coming to town specifically to see a hatchling release, please select a range of dates where several nests are due to hatch. This will increase your chances of seeing an early morning release. We post estimated hatching dates on the nest activity page, so you can plan your trip accordingly.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hatchling Releases:

 

Why aren't public hatchling releases planned in advance?

 Hatchlings can only be released when they are in an active state (known as a frenzy). When the hatchlings frenzy in the middle of the night, the hatchlings are released on the isolated northern beaches by trained staff members. Sea turtle hatchlings use the light of the moon to navigate from the beach to the ocean. Condo and restaurant lights confuse the babies, so they must be taken north, away from these lights. Nighttime release are not open to the public for the safety of the hatchlings. When they frenzy at dawn (between 5-6am), we host a public release. 

 

Why can't we save the hatchlings until day time and release them?

When baby sea turtles hatch, they absorb a yolk sac that supplies them with energy for the first couple days of their life. This energy allows them to crawl down the beach and into the water until they can find food and shelter (typically in sargassum seaweed). Holding the hatchlings for several hours is a waste of vital energy needed for these babies to swim out to their floating habitat, which can be several miles offshore. 

 

How much advance notice can I receive, in the event of a release?

Since we can only do public releases for babies that hatch around 5am-6am, we typically can give notice about 1 hour in advance. We do try to predict the likelihood of a release. By checking our Facebook page or calling the hatchling hotline the night before, you can figure out if it is necessary to check back in the morning for a release. 

 

Where is County Access 3?

County Access 3 is located 1/2 mile north of Sea Turtle, Inc. It is after Andy Bowie County Park but before The Shores. 

 

Can I volunteer at a hatchling release?

Due to strict Federal and State laws, only individuals that are listed on our permits can help with the releases. These individuals are trained staff members and long-term volunteer patrollers. 

 

 

Check out the calendar below to see the 2016 hatchling estimates!

To receive text message and email invitations to our public hatchling releases, become a member!

 

Hatchling Releases on Video