A Turtle’s Race to the Ocean

This week, Discovery Education was on Kiawah Island, South Carolina to watch the valiant struggles of baby turtles as they hatched and then crawled their way across the wide, sandy beach to the ocean.

At this time in the season, many turtles have already hatched and made their way to the ocean, but volunteers with a group called Turtle Patrol keep track and help turtles that may be delayed or left behind find their way.

Here are some pictures of Turtle Patrol volunteers checking on a nest. On this beautiful morning, they found many empty shells (good news: those turtles made it already) and one baby turtle who needed their help. Look closely at the bucket in the last picture to spy the tiny turtle!







And here is that little turtle from the bucket making the trip from the sand into the sea…. The long stripes of shade on the sand are shadows from the volunteers’ legs; turtles need to crawl into the ocean, but tend to follow the sun and can get confused if it’s too late in the day. Volunteers were there to help them stay on course for the ocean. (See how tiny that baby turtle is, by comparing it to the volunteer’s toe in the third picture!)












Click on the video to see the little guy (or gal!) swimming through the tiny waves crashing over its head….


Amazing facts I learned from the Kiawah Island volunteers who help the turtles every year:

1. The heat of the sand determines the sex of the turtle;

2. These turtles have nests about 24 inches underground;

3. The turtles will return to this same beach in 25 years to lay their own eggs;

4. Some egg shells are empty and serve as spacers in the nest.


62 comments… add one

  • Jannita September 13, 2013, 7:28 pm

    Learning out in the world is amazing… you never know what you’ll encounter when you take a walk :) Watching these turtles emerge was an incredible experience! What’s amazing is that it’s volunteers who watch, record, monitor, and sometimes assist these precious little guys. Let’s come back in 25 years and see if we can figure out which ones were ours!

  • Phoebe September 14, 2013, 3:17 pm

    It is so amazing! I love watching about sea life, (not the creepy things). The baby sea turtle is so cute! 😉

  • Matthew September 16, 2013, 4:28 pm

    that turtle is so cute!!!!!

  • jakob September 16, 2013, 6:57 pm

    facinating :)

  • Sydnee September 16, 2013, 7:53 pm

    That is so cool I wish that I could do that too!!!!!!!!!

  • paige September 17, 2013, 12:52 am

    it was awsome when im older i will be able to watch the turtles hatch when im older im olny 9 years old so this paige and ttylxox

  • Caroline September 17, 2013, 1:47 am

    This is so cool! The pictures are so cute! I really would like to do this some time. Thank you guys for helping these little turtles out. Sea turtles make me happy. :-)

    • Gus September 18, 2013, 3:17 pm

      Oh, yeah! take that, zoos!

  • Keaton September 17, 2013, 7:56 pm


  • Natalie September 17, 2013, 9:24 pm

    Yay!!!!! So happy the little turtle survived! If it weren’t for valunteers ‘ who knows what could have happend to him!!!!
    I <3 TURTLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Audrey September 17, 2013, 11:35 pm

    This is amazing. Only one of the turtles needed help.

  • kiera September 18, 2013, 12:56 pm

    that was awesome

  • faith September 18, 2013, 8:55 pm

    this is so cool
    i love turtles

  • Jimmy September 19, 2013, 5:54 pm

    That’s cool I think that title is cute and funny

  • Jack September 19, 2013, 5:54 pm

    That was a cool video it was a very small turtle though

  • Emily September 19, 2013, 5:55 pm

    That was really cute❤
    I have never seen a baby turtle go out to sea!

  • Melody Rose September 19, 2013, 5:55 pm

    I am so glad that these caring people are going out there to help poor little baby sea turtles that cannot even make it because of predators and all the lights on the beach from beach houses. I love baby sea turtles!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jimmy September 19, 2013, 5:56 pm

    I ment turtle not title sorry tfw

  • Seth September 19, 2013, 5:57 pm

    Those turtles, so awesome

  • Eleanor September 19, 2013, 5:57 pm

    It is the best thing to see how you can save lives ,big or small.

  • Tessa September 19, 2013, 5:58 pm

    Awwwwwww totally adorable

  • Caleb September 19, 2013, 5:58 pm

    Awesome video

  • Jack September 19, 2013, 5:58 pm

    I lllllllllllooooooooooovvvvvvvvvveeeeeeeeeeee turtles they are awesome

  • McClaren September 19, 2013, 5:59 pm

    I’m glad that somebody is taking care of these little balls of joy!!!!! I love turtles!!!!

  • Anthony September 19, 2013, 6:00 pm

    TFW turtle for the WIN!

  • Michael September 19, 2013, 6:00 pm

    It is great knowing that a new animal was born into the world and now it is in the wild. TFW tirrtle for the win!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!,!!!!,

  • Nick September 19, 2013, 6:01 pm

    The video was funny.

  • Max September 19, 2013, 6:02 pm

    This was nice of those people

  • Domenick September 19, 2013, 6:03 pm

    Very cool! Go Turtle Patrol! Your doing the right thing. Keep doing what you’re doing.

  • Arnaut September 19, 2013, 6:03 pm

    The baby turtle swam so fast.

  • Laney September 19, 2013, 6:04 pm

    As a South Carolina resident, I am fully aware of the sea turtle activity. I am so fascinated by how involved your team is. This video made my day! I love to see community service being done by ordinary South Carolina people. Thanks for sharing!

  • Michael September 19, 2013, 6:05 pm

    The turtles are awesome it is happy that a new animal is born into the world

  • liliana September 19, 2013, 6:43 pm

    i love turtle

  • BRENTON September 19, 2013, 9:29 pm

    THAT IS cute i hope it survives mmmm

  • tyshaun September 23, 2013, 2:30 pm

    I LOVE THE turtles.

  • Ajare September 23, 2013, 5:38 pm

    I love the turtles they are really nice and cute they have nice kids

  • Reagan September 23, 2013, 9:30 pm

    This is sooooo cute! I love it!

  • Mealani September 23, 2013, 9:34 pm

    Aww turtles are so cute!

  • alvin September 23, 2013, 9:40 pm

    I love that turtl he is strong

  • David September 23, 2013, 9:40 pm

    I belive I can swim!

  • reagan September 23, 2013, 10:08 pm

    how do i add this to my faverites? help ASAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • laureleiy September 23, 2013, 10:23 pm

    love baby turtles so happy you guys are helping them !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • dustin September 24, 2013, 1:02 am

    I love baby turtles

  • Reagan September 25, 2013, 2:42 am

    Holy cow! I watched this video like, a thoughsand times> I love turtle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Isbella September 25, 2013, 9:42 pm

    That is so cute:).!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wish I could be there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):)

  • Bella September 25, 2013, 9:49 pm

    That is so CUTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wish I could be there.

  • Sabrina September 26, 2013, 3:43 am

    Wow you guys are so lucky! i would do anything to watch baby turtles go out to sea. The ocean has so many beautiful creatures huh? its amazing what you can discover by just watching a natural success. Turtles rock!

  • Emily September 26, 2013, 5:51 pm

    OMG!!!!!! So cute!!!!!!!!! Never ever saw a baby turtle go out to sea! SOOOOOOOOOO CUTE!!!!!!!!!!

  • Bella September 27, 2013, 1:36 am

    OMG that is SO CUTE AND ADORIBLE I <3 watching there experience!!!!!! SO CUTE SO CUTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE TTTTTTTUUUURRTTLLLES!!!

  • mavis September 27, 2013, 4:44 pm

    so cute, i love turtles!

  • Donny September 29, 2013, 5:22 pm

    That was so nice to help them baby turtles to the ocean without being eaten or anything like that.

  • Emily September 30, 2013, 5:52 pm

    SO CUTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love TURTLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I. <3 watching this!!!!!!!!!!!! Save the turtles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • victoria October 1, 2013, 12:27 am

    awwww i want to help set baby turtles to the ocean i never been to the ocean so that would be the best field trip ever !!!!!!!!!!!!!:@

  • Maria October 1, 2013, 6:34 pm

    OMG I love turtles they are awsome

  • Eunise October 4, 2013, 3:26 pm

    TOO cute!!!My classmates at Grahamwood Elementary Memphis,TN loved the video

  • tatum October 4, 2013, 4:13 pm

    I sure hope all of the turtles make it. 5-07 from Grahamwood Elementary

  • Ethan October 4, 2013, 10:22 pm

    i am glad that the turtles are able to make it! i love turtles and it is so cool to watch them! This is from my great elementary school Grahamwood 5-07

  • Abbye October 5, 2013, 3:34 pm

    I wish that almost any turtle makes it without any predators coming to kill them. I just adore turtles!

  • Aaron October 5, 2013, 4:41 pm

    that is awesome

  • Anna October 5, 2013, 5:07 pm

    i soo wish i had a pet turtle !!!!!!!!!!!!
    they ‘re cute and fun to watch !!!!!!!!!!!!
    i love them !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    i cannot stand it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Priyanka October 6, 2013, 11:29 pm

    soo cute love them

  • O January 16, 2014, 1:13 am

    That baby turtle is so cute.
    SAVE THE COAHUILAN BOX TURTLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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