EXCITING NEWS: Turtle nesting season has started early!
As a volunteer with the Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park turtle program, it is so exciting when turtle nesting season begins. Not only did we have an early nest discovered this month, but even more exciting is that it’s a leatherback turtle nest! In fact, it is the first leatherback nest on St. John in many years. Hopefully it is a sign that we will have a very successful nesting season.
The leatherback is typically 4 to 6 feet long and weighs 600 to 1100 pounds. The largest leatherback ever recorded was almost 10 feet long and weighed 2,019 pounds. They nest every two to three years, four to seven times a season, and lay only about 80 eggs. The eggs then take roughly 65 days to hatch.
Fun fact: Trunk Bay beach is actually named after the leatherback turtle as they used to nest there in large numbers. While swimming on the waters surface, leatherbacks sometimes resemble a floating steamer trunk. Thus, the Dane and locals started calling them trunk turtles and Trunk Bay was given its name.
In June, the Friends of the VINP will begin training volunteers who wish to join the sea turtle monitoring program. Check out their website for updates and announcements or call 340-779-4940.
Happy turtle season!