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Turtle Nesting Season in Texas Begins April 1

Sea turtle nesting season runs from April 1 through July 15 in the Coastal Bend. The season peaks in May. Courtesy photo

Sea turtle nesting season officially begins April 1 in the Coastal Bend when mama sea turtles come ashore to bury 30-60 eggs in the sand before heading back to the Gulf of Mexico. The eggs would be left on their own, at risk to predators and accidents, if not for outside help.

Volunteers and sea turtle rescue teams from the Padre Island National Seashore and Amos Rehabilitation Keep in Port Aransas scan the beaches each spring, watching for laying mothers. Once a mom returns to the water, her eggs are carefully removed and protected at the national seashore until they are hatched and immediately released into the surf.

The season ends around July 15 but peaks in May. Visitors to the beach are asked to look for turtles coming ashore, especially during high tides and on windy days. Watch for 2-foot-wide tracks with a drag mark in the middle leading to the dunes. Eggs are mostly laid along the line where the beach ends and the dunes begin.

Don’t drive over the tracks or mess them up in any way, beg members of the turtle patrol. Those tracks could be the only way to find nests of eggs.

Anyone who sees tracks or a sea turtle on the beach is asked to call the turtle hotline at 866-TURTLE-5, which covers the entire Texas coastline. Don’t approach the turtles or scare them in any way. If they return to the sea before laying, the eggs — and potential hatchlings — could be destroyed.

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