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World's rarest sea turtle lays 3 nests on Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Kemp's Ridley sea turtle hatchlings Cape Hatteras (September 9).PNG
Posted at 9:08 PM, Sep 09, 2021

CAPE HATTERAS, N.C. - The world's rarest sea turtle laid three nests on Cape Hatteras National Seashore this season.

The park announced that the hatchlings from a Kemp's Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii) came from a recent nest excavation on Ocracoke Island.

Park rangers say this particular nest had 120 total eggs and that overall, 81.6% of them hatched, while 78.3% of the hatchlings emerged on their own.

Kemp's Ridleys are the smallest species of sea turtle and can reach the weight of a large dog. Unlike other sea turtles, National Park Service experts say they primarily nest during the daytime.

These nests are uncommon to North Carolina, and the park says this particular species is critically endangered.

Related: Loggerhead sea turtle lays eggs at Virginia Beach Oceanfront