Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge
Conserving the Nature of America

Sea Turtles

Loggerhead Turtle
Kemp's Ridley
Green Sea Turtle
Leatherback Babies
Kemp's Ridley
Caretta caretta
Lepidochelys kempii
Chelonia mydas
Dermochelys coriacea
Threatened, 1978
Endangered, 1970
Threatened, 1970
Endangered, 1970
Carapace up to 45in,
170-500 lbs
Carapace up to 28in,
75-100 lbs.
Carapace up to 55in,
850 lbs.
Carapace up to 78in,
2000 lbs.
Can live 30-50 years
Can live 30-50 years
Can live 30-50 years
Can live 45+ years
Nests at Bon Secour
Nests at Bon Secour
For more information on these species, visit and NOAA.


Refuge beaches support nest densities as high or higher than many areas along the Northern Gulf Coast with 4.5-5 nests/mile. Loggerhead and Kemp's Ridley sea turtles have been documented nesting on Bon Secour NWR.

Leatherback and green sea turtles also occur in gulf waters and along refuge beaches.

Conservation strategies to protect these turtles under the Endangered Species Act include on-site nest monitoring and protection, as well as working with Environmental Education and Public Outreach to foster community awareness.

In 2001, the USFWS initiated a sea turtle volunteer program called Share the Beach, involving local residents and businesses in sea turtle conservation. As a result of increased monitoring and public support through this program, nearly all sea turtles that hatch on Alabama beaches make it to the water.

Finding a Nest
Protecting the Nest
Waiting to Hatch


Share the Beach is now administered through the non-profit "Share the Beach", which is supported by the refuge, the "Adopt a Nest" program of the Friends of Bon Secour NWR and grants.

Bon Secour NWR Sea Turtle Manual


Last Updated: December 2008