CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Loggerhead turtle nesting season runs from May through October and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources has an important reminder for beachside residents.
Keep your lights off at night.
The turtles come ashore on the beaches in the Lowcountry to lay approximately 120 eggs around the dunes. Around 60 days later, the hatchlings come out of the nest and head toward the ocean. Artificial light is threatening to the turtles because it could be disorienting. The turtles use the natural light of the moon reflecting off the ocean to guide them toward the water.
Any other light source could turn them the wrong way. If a turtle starts crawling away from the ocean, they become more susceptible to predators and also waste energy they need to swim offshore. Any light from streetlights or beachfront homes could disorient the turtles.
Sea turtle nesting in South Carolina can be followed here.
Loggerheads are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act which means a hatching harmed by artificial light could bring a fine of $25,000, according to SCDNR. Violating lighting ordinances could be a $500 fine.