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February 26, 2024 10:21 am

Local News

Rare Leucistic Turtle Hatching in Cape Hatteras

Credit: iStock

Mohamed Bughrara

Albinism occurs when an animal’s eyes appear pink and its skin and hair white because of a lack of melanin. Leucistic animals have very little melanin but still have some, in the case of the rare leucistic turtle, a loggerhead sea turtle currently hatching in Cape Hatteras, its shell and body remain clear and white, but will keep its dark brown eyes. 

According to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore’s Facebook page, the first sea turtle nest was hatched on July 23rd of this year. 

As biologists started nest excavations on July 27th, the rare leucistic creature appeared. Loggerhead sea turtles are listed as “vulnerable” on the endangered species list. 

While the baby isn’t particularly rare on its own, its unique color scheme makes it a very fashionable hatchling. The beautiful baby turtle had brown eyes.

2019 was a record-breaking year for sea turtle nesting activity; 2020 and 2021 were also good years for sea turtles, with 228 nests recorded in 2020 and 315 nests recorded in 2021.

According to the Sea Turtle Nest Monitoring System, there were 318 sea turtle nests in 2022, including 308 loggerheads, 8 green sea turtles, 1 leatherback, and 1 Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle.

Please call the stranding hotline at 252-216-6892 if you see turtle tracks, nesting activity, or hatchlings.