First South Walton turtle nest of 2012 laid by an endangered Kemp’s Ridley

May 14, 2012

An endangered Kemp's Ridley laying eggs along Miramar Beach on May 12, 2012. Photo courtesy Kim Jackson

Turtle season starts with a special visitor!

It’s official, turtle nesting has begun along the beaches of South Walton. The season started off with a special occasion on May 12, 2012 as the first nest was laid by an endangered Kemp’s Ridley turtle. Kemp’s Ridley rarely lay eggs along our beaches.

Kim Jackson of Suwanee, Ga. was visiting Miramar Beach when she witnessed the Kemp’s daytime nesting.

“We observed her digging her hole and then she laid there for a good bit and reared her head and made  faint noises. She covered the hole well, going through her process of filling and patting both with her body and flippers. I think the trash deterred her from getting in the dunes but it appeared she went through the whole process. It was truly an amazing sight,” said Jackson.

An endangered Kemp's Ridley returns to the Gulf after laying her eggs on May 12, 2012. Photo courtesy Kim Jackson

Each year from May 1 – October 31, there are four species of Florida sea turtles that nest along the beach in South Walton County – Loggerhead, Green, Leatherback and on occasion, Kemp’s Ridley. The Kemp’s Ridley is an endangered species weighing up to 100 pounds and approximately 24-28 inches in length. Adult Kemp’s Ridleys are considered the smallest marine turtle in the world. Female Kemp’s Ridleys lay two to three clutches of approximately 100 eggs, which incubate for 50-60 days.

For more information about our local sea turtles visit: