Leatherback sea turtle hatchlings emerge from Ocracoke Island for the first time in 16 years

The largest of all living turtles began hatching on Ocracoke Island on Monday night, according to National Park Service officials. (Facebook)

Today, officials with the Cape Hatteras National Seashore (Seashore) took to social media to announce that a portion of the leatherback sea turtle eggs found along the shore in June have finally emerged as hatchlings and begun their oceanic journey.

Several months back in June of this year, a Leatherback sea turtle laid 93 eggs on Ocracoke Island. After 70 days of incubation, 19 of the hatchlings were born on Monday night. According to the Seashore, more hatchlings are expected in due time.

The Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) is the largest sea turtle in the world, weighing up to 2,000 pounds and measuring up to 6.5 feet as adults.

Since keeping record, here’s data from Leatherback nests that have had hatch activity on Cape Hatteras National Seashore:
  • 2007: Ocracoke Island
  • 2002: Hatteras Island
  • 2000: Hatteras Island

The last time a documented nest emerged from the shores of Ocracoke Island was 2007.

The following photos are courtesy of the NPS/Cape Hatteras National Seashore’s official Facebook page: