Myrtle Beach city staff discovered a rare green sea turtle nest on the north end of Myrtle Beach Monday morning.
The staff members who work on the beach noticed several false crawls early Sunday then spotted the real nest just after dawn Monday, according to a post on the city’s Facebook page.
Before settling on a spot to lay her eggs, the turtle tried at least eight different locations, the post says. She laid the eggs in the sand dunes near 82nd Avenue.
The post says State Park Ranger Ann Wilson and her team responded to the nesting site and discovered 142 “golf-ball-sized” green sea turtle eggs. The nest was then relocated to a safer section of the beach where the turtles can hatch undisturbed.
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“The new discover brings this year’s total of sea turtle nests to 11 inside the city limits and 193 in both Horry and Georgetown counties,” the post states.
So far, the state has recorded 4,789 turtle nests this year, but only four of those are green sea turtle nests, according to statistics from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resource’s Marine Turtle Conservation Program.
According to Wilson, Loggerheads are the most common type of sea turtles to nest along the Grand Strand and throughout South Carolina.
“Greens are just not common in the state,” she said.
There were no green sea turtle nests anywhere in South Carolina during 2016, Wilson added.
The city reminds the public that it’s illegal to disturb a nesting sea turtle or her nest and federal penalties for violations include jail time and fines of up to $15,000 for each offense. Officials also say feeding or touching turtles in any way is considered a disturbance and is unlawful.
Michaela Broyles, 843-626-0281, @MichaelaBroyles