VIIS Turtle Monitoring

turtle hatchling swimming by Annie Caswell
Photo by Annie Caswell

Welcome to the VIIS Turtle Nest Monitoring Page

The VIIS Turtle monitoring program relies on volunteer labor so please join us this year and help determine how many turtles are nesting and hatching on St. John. To sign up to be a volunteer email
Visit for news on turtle monitoring.

The endangered hawksbill, green, and leatherback sea turtles nest on St. John. The survival of each individual of an endangered species is important.

With your help we hope to:
*identify those beaches that support sea turtle nesting,
*determine the number of nests and the number of turtles nesting on St. John, and
*mitigate any obvious threats to nesting females and hatchlings.

General Nesting Information:

The hawksbill turtle is one of the only remaining turtles to regularly nest on St. John. Females nest every other year and make their nests in the vegetation. She will commonly lay three, four or five clutches at 14-day intervals, generally on the same beach. Clutch sizes are usually between 150-225 eggs laid at one time but can decreases with each nest. The soft leathery white eggs are about the size of ping-pong balls; hatchlings are uniformly reddish-brown, just a bit smaller than a silver dollar.

Leatherbacks are uncommon on St. John, averaging about one nest per year. Their nests are obvious because of the size of the disturbed area, usually mid-beach. They generally lay about 80 yolked eggs and 30 yolkless eggs per nest. Eggs are cue-ball sized. Incubation takes about 60 days and hatchlings are 2-3 times the size of a hawksbill hatchling.

The first documented green sea turtle nest on St. John was found last season, 2017. Greens nest on the sandy beach and have one or more characteristically deep body pits. Greens lay between 75-200 eggs per nest and typically lay 3-6 nests per season.

The park turtle coordinator will provide training, patrol log and activity monitoring sheets.


Please notify the Resource Management Office at 693-8950 (Thomas ext. 225) if you suspect a hatch, predation, turtle stranding, or see baby turtle or shells on the beach.

Return to Turtles of Virgin Islands

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    Tags: viis turtle

    Last updated: August 24, 2018

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    Mailing Address:

    1300 Cruz Bay Creek
    St. John, VI 00830


    (340) 776-6201 x238
    Headquarters/Visitor Center phone contact Information.

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