About Sea Turtles
Sea turtles have been swimming the world’s oceans for over 100 million years. Today, there are seven recognized species of sea turtles; all of which are threatened, endangered, or critically endangered by national (Endangered Species Act) and international (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) classifications. Four of the seven species can be seen in the waters around the USVI: hawksbills, greens, leatherbacks, and loggerheads. The leatherback, hawksbill, and greens sea turtles are known to nest on the beaches of St. John. Loggerheads are very rare, but have been spotted.
Hawksbill sea turtles comprise the majority of our nests on St. John. While these turtles nest year-round, the peak of the nesting season is from August to November. During this time, these turtles will return to their natal beaches and deposit between 3-5 nests at 14 day intervals. Each nest contains 80-200 ping-pong shaped eggs that incubate for around 55-75 days. Leatherbacks have also been known to nest on St. John. In fact, Trunk Bay was named after the large ‘trunk-like’ turtles using the area as a nesting ground.
While green sea turtles have been known to nest on St. John, juveniles and subadults are more commonly observed. These turtles can be found grazing on seagrass in many of St. John's bays.
Talks & Seminars
- Visit our sea turtle page for current in person turtle seminars, talks & boat trips.
- Audio Tour: Listen to Here, St. John:
- Sea Turtles 101 -- Adren Anderson and Willow Melamet provide an introduction to understanding sea turtles.
- Maho Bay Sea Turtles -- Adren Anderson and Willow Melamet talk about the special sea turtle population at Maho Bay and the problems they are facing.
- Friends Virtual Seminar: VINP Sea Turtle Monitoring and Protection Program Update (Oct 2020)
School Turtle Talks include options for trips to the park & in classroom learning. Teachers please contact the turtle team on firstname.lastname@example.org or VINP Ranger Laurel Brannick at Laurel_Brannick@nps.gov to make arrangements for your class. Note: Funding is available for transportation and other costs.
Species Cards, Posters & More -- See Images in Gallery Below
- Sea Turtles In The USVI 101
- Species Card: Green Sea Turtle
- Species Card: Hawksbill Sea Turtle
- Turtle Etiquette and Key Numbers Poster
- Practice Sea Turtle Friendly Snorkeling Guide
- A Visitors Guide to Sea Turtle Encounters
- Quick Reference Guide To Beach Tracks
- What To Do If Your See Turtle Crawl Tracks Poster
- A Guide To Identifying Hatchling Tracks
- Slowdown For Those Below Poster
- Turtles With Tumors: Fibropapilomatosis (FP) Poster
- Park Snorkel Card: Protect Coral
- Park Snorkel Card: Reef Safe Sunscreen
- NPS: VIIS Turtle Monitoring Site
- NPS: Online Snorkel Trip: Turtles & Fish in the VI
- In The News: St John Source: National Park's Turtle Talks At Sea Brings Opportunity For Marine Awareness
- In The News: Virgin Islands Daily News: Nesting sea turtles have Friends: Park program volunteers
- In The News: Virgin Islands Daily News: Increase in volunteers bolsters support for turtle monitoring program