Adopt A Sea Turtle Nest
Frequently Asked Questions

Can I adopt multiple sea turtle nests?
Yes! Please complete one donation form per nest you would like to adopt. If you have an honoree, please include their full name and mailing address. Currently, certificates cannot be sent via email.

Can I adopt a nest in a specific location on Cape Hatteras National Seashore?
Because nature is unpredictable, there is no guarantee as to where nests will show up on the Seashore, so we cannot assign you a nest in a specific location. We can, however, assign you a nest in the general locations of Hatteras Island, Bodie Island, and Ocracoke Island.

What is the exact location of my sea turtle nest?
For the safety of the nests and sea turtles visiting the Seashore, and in alignment with National Park Service protocol, we do not provide the exact location of your assigned nest until after it hatches.

Can I visit the sea turtle nest I adopted?
For the safety of the nests and sea turtles visiting the Seashore, visiting the nests is not encouraged.

Will my honorees receive a certificate?
Yes! A certificate will be mailed to the address you provide for your honoree(s).

What happens if the sea turtle nest(s) I adopted are lost or damaged due to weather events or other circumstances?
Nature is unpredictable. If your adopted nest is lost to a weather event or damaged by some other means, we will assign you a new nest that may or may not be shared with another individual or group. You will receive this updated nest information via the email address you provide on your donation form.

Which species of sea turtles nest on Cape Hatteras National Seashore?
Loggerhead sea turtles are the most common species here at the Seashore, but we also see many Green sea turtles, and occasionally rare Leatherback and Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles.

How does my gift impact Cape Hatteras National Seashore?
Our Adopt a Sea Turtle Nest program helps fund projects and programs each year that protect and enhance the vital habitat at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

What should I do if I see a sea turtle on the beach?
If you see a nesting, sick, stranded, or deceased sea turtle or evidence of sea turtle activity on the beaches of Cape Hatteras National Seashore (Bodie Island, Hatteras Island, Ocracoke Island), please call the Seashore’s sea turtle hotline: (252) 216-6892.

Are you partnering with the Network of Endangered Sea Turtles (N.E.S.T.)?
While we don’t directly partner with N.E.S.T on this program, we are grateful for the work they do! N.E.S.T. asks that you report nesting sea turtles, sea turtle crawls, stranded or deceased sea turtles, or nest hatching events on the beaches of the Carova 4×4 area to South Nags Head to their hotline: (252) 441-8622. To learn more about volunteer opportunities with N.E.S.T., email them at or visit their website:

How can I watch a sea turtle nest excavation on Cape Hatteras National Seashore?
Since sea turtle nest excavations are generally not preplanned due to hatching cycles, the best way to find out more about nest excavations is to sign up for our email list for announcements or call Cape Hatteras National Seashore’s excavation hotline, which is available July through September: (252) 475-9629. We also partner with our park staff to bring you a “virtual” nest excavation experience each year. Stay tuned!

How can I stay in the loop about the Adopt A Sea Turtle Nest (AAN) Program? 
The best way to stay informed is to sign up for our email list: And make sure you add us to your safe sender list so you don’t miss any of our communications. 🙂 

Have a question not listed above? Contact Nicole Erickson, Development & Adoption Programs Manager at