World’s rarest sea turtles hatch on Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Two Kemp's Ridley sea turtle hatchlings resting on shore before making their way to the ocean. [NPS photo]

The world’s rarest sea turtle, a Kemp’s Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii), laid three nests on Cape Hatteras National Seashore this season.

The National Park Service recently excavated a nest on Ocracoke Island containing 120 eggs. Overall, 81.6% of the eggs hatched and 78.3% of the hatchlings emerged on their own.

Kemp’s Ridley turtles are the smallest sea turtle species, reaching the weight of a large dog, the park service said. Unlike other sea turtles, they primarily nest during the day time.

“These nests are uncommon to North Carolina and this particular species is critically endangered,” the park service said on Facebook. “Good luck little ones!”

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Kari Pugh is digital director for OBXToday.com, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and News Talk 92.3 WZPR. Reach her at kpugh@jammediallc.com