Coast KZN

28 Jan 2021

Loggerhead turtle lays eggs on South Coast beach

Shona Aylward (South Coast Herald) Picture: Karen Pauls. The loggerhead turtle, seen laying her eggs on an undisclosed South Coast beach.

It’s not often South Coasters see a turtle nesting on one of their beaches. So, it was a delightful surprise for Karen Pauls and her son Wesley of Munster to discover a loggerhead turtle on the beach last Thursday.

Turtle nesting season runs between October and March and, if this big female tortoise wasn’t disturbed, the chances are good she laid eggs.

The location of the nest has not been disclosed due to the concern of poaching. A number of turtles were seen nesting on North Coast beaches last month, between Chakas Rock and Tinley Manor.

Loggerhead are the largest of all hard-shelled turtles and are named for their massive heads and strong jaws. They are considered a vulnerable species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

But are turtles known to lay their eggs on South Coast beaches?

“It is infrequent but it does happens,” said Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife spokesman, Musa Mntambo. He said he had consulted with a scientist who said it has happened in the past that turtles have laid eggs on South Coast beaches.

“The turtle are driven by hormones to lay eggs. If the hormones are that a turtle must lay eggs during sunlight they will do so. So, it is not a totally unique phenomenon as to what has happened in the area.”

Mr Mntambo advised the public to stay out of sight of the turtles when they are laying eggs during the day as one’s presence may result in a turtle being scared and laying their eggs as they race back to the safety of the sea.

“The public should also ensure that their dogs do not dig where eggs have been laid.”

At night, please do not use cellphone lights or torches as that also may interfere with the laying of eggs process.