The Kiawah Island Turtle Patrol came across a rare sight while checking sea turtle nests Sunday morning: a white sea turtle hatchling.
The town of Kiawah Island posted on its Facebook page and said the hatchling is considered leucistic.
“Leucism is a condition where animals have reduced pigmentation. Leucism is different from albinism as albino animals have a complete loss of pigment, leaving them completely white with red or pink eyes.”
“You can imagine the excited ‘oohs’ and the ‘aahs’ from the guests, including some College of Charleston students, when the (beach) patroller found a lone, leucistic hatchling in the nest,” town officials wrote on Facebook. “It was a first for everyone.”
The state’s official sea turtle nesting season runs from May 1 to October 31. Last year, South Carolina had a record-breaking season with the most nests ever recorded in a season with 8,802 nests.
Four different types of sea turtles nest on South Carolina beaches: loggerheads, greens, Kemp’s ridleys and leatherbacks. SCDNR officials say all four species are classified as endangered or threatened and protected under the Endangered Species Act.