Turtles Eggs? Maybe Not

August 4, 2010 by  
Filed under News

By Brenda Marion –

Just before sunset, it was finally cool enough to hit the beach.

Our neighbors, Carol Guetherman and her daughters, had pulled chairs out and were enjoying the relief from the 100+ degree day. Why they use the term comfort index to describe this weather is beyond me – anything over 95 degrees is just not comfortable unless you are in a pool, the ocean, or inside the a/c!

Our 4 year-old son Jack grabbed his surfboard and we walked out to the back river to swim and watch the sun make its daily departure into the western horizon.  We shared the beach with a family visiting from Tennessee who were all out swimming, fishing and crabbing from their rental house’s dock, and squeezing the last bit of Tybee magic into their final vacation night.

It had been an unusually high tide and there was some new beach erosion into the dunes where we were all congregated. One of the boys from Tennessee made an exciting discovery, calling out that he spied some eggs peeking out of the newly eroded dune just below their dock. We all ran over, excitedly determining that we had found a turtle nest! We could see at least three small eggs nestled in the sand. Katie Guetherman called 911 and they said someone would be by in about 15 minutes.

My husband Tyler called Tybee’s local turtle expert, Tammy Smith, from the Tybee Island Marine Science Center who said she was sending someone over right away. We all took pictures of the fragile eggs and shared the wonder of something so rare occurring right in our back yard. Carol commented that she had lived here her whole life and had never seen a turtle nest, much less on the back river.

Danny from the city appeared in no time in response to Katie’s call and we gathered a beach pail and shovel to help with his delicate excavation. The nest harbored seven eggs and we all took turns looking at them in the bucket, as proud as if we had laid them ourselves! Danny said he thought that they might be Tybee terrapins, or maybe even tree snake eggs, but since they weren’t round and ping pong ball-sized, they were probably not sea turtle’s eggs. He said they would be taken to the Marine Science Center and we could monitor their progress to see what hatches. I am hoping for anything but tree snakes—the thought that there are snakes in my tree-surrounded house, much less baby snakes waiting to hatch in the sand on my beach is too much for my comfort index!

Brenda Marion

Tybee Island

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