Strandings on Folly Beach 2003

The presence of sea turtles on Folly Beach is not always a welcome sight.

One of our most dreaded sightings is a stranded sea turtle -- one that has come ashore, not to nest, but as the result of injury, disease, or death at sea.

Folly's experience with strandings is duplicated all along the SC coast. The highest percentage of strandings in the state are on Charleston's four beaches, mostly on Isle of Palms and Sullivans Island. Most strandings occur between May 1st and July 31st -- the time when offshore turtle and human activities converge.

The loss of every sea turtle that has survived the 20-30 years to reach their sub-adult and adult life stage is significant. Not only is that individual lost, but its potential to reproduce is gone. For an endangered species, this is especially critical. As one biologist has said, "Losing an adult turtle is like losing 1,000 eggs on the beach."

Strandings 2003
May 171205-ELoggerheadApprox. 32" x 31"Missing head and all 4 flippers; a few isolated barnacles on carapace.
May 20CGS-ELoggerheadApprox. 27" x 25"Right front flipper broken at "shoulder"; large gash across right front of carapace; smaller gash further back on right side; forward portion of head missing.
June 8709-WLoggerheadApprox. 28" x 27"A "Barnacle Bill" -- carapace completely and heavily encrusted with barnacles; no subcutaneous fat or muscle tissue; emaciated -- "skin and bones" appearance.
June 131516-ELoggerheadApprox. 29" x 28"A badly busted up turtle -- left side of carapace mostly missing.
July 2301-WLoggerheadApprox. 27" x 26"A few barnacle patches on back and a bloody left eye. Otherwise a beautiful, intact, freshly dead turtle.
August 14CGS-ELoggerheadApprox. 31" x 28"A beautiful, intact, dead turtle -- no injuries. Drowning victim?
August 16807-ELoggerheadApprox. 26" x 25"Heavily encrusted with barnacles; fish hook in right front flipper.
August 22Folly River-1212-ELoggerheadApprox. 31" x 30"Lots of barnacles, but no injuries.
November 27901-WLeatherbackApprox. 72" x 60"Male - 12" long tail. Huge slice through carapace -- probably ship strike.