WATCH: Turtle hatchlings emerge from nest and start trek to sea

FOLLY ISLAND, S.C. (Gray News/TMX) - It’s sea turtle nesting season in South Carolina, and eggs are hatching on Folly Island, just south of Charleston.

A video shared by the Folly Beach Turtle Watch Program shows a pile of hatchlings emerging from their nest and starting their long trek to the Atlantic Ocean. A close-up shows one hatchling shuffling across the sand, inching its way toward the sea.

Wildlife officials warn the public never to disturb sea turtles crawling to or from the ocean. The baby turtles can also be confused by lights near the beach or flash photography.

All beachfront homes are required to turn off all lights that face the ocean and close blinds in oceanfront rooms after 10 p.m., according to a City of Folly Beach ordinance.

That ordinance states there is to be no artificial light illuminating any area of the beaches of the city between 10 p.m. and dawn May 1 - Oct. 31 of each year.

Anyone caught violating the ordinance is issued a $500 fine.

Folly Beach is a prime nesting location for loggerhead sea turtles from May to September.

It is believed the female turtles return to the beaches where they hatched decades earlier to lay their eggs.

While loggerheads are the most common species in South Carolina, the state also sees Kemp’s ridley, green and leatherback sea turtles.

Copyright 2022 Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved. TMX contributed to this story.

Debra Worley

Debra Worley

Debra Worley joined Gray Television's corporate digital team as the Enterprise Digital Content Manager in May 2021. She had previously overseen all things digital at WECT and Fox Wilmington since 2007.