The raccoon (Procyon lotor) on St. Catherines Island, Georgia. 7, Nesting sea turtles and foraging raccoons. American Museum novitates ; no. 2713

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New York, N.Y. : American Museum of Natural History
"The activity of loggerhead turtles, raccoons, and other animals was studied in three months in 1979 on 9.5 km. of beaches on St. Catherines Island, Georgia. An estimated 250 clutches of eggs were laid on the island in 1979, eggs in clutches counted averaged 139 in June and 101 in July. Different beaches had significantly different amounts of activity, but no clear correlations with environmental factors emerged as probable causes. There was no conspicuous peak of activity in the two months studied. There was no indication of preference by turtles for laying at any particular time of night. Raccoon tracks were more abundant nearer areas with trees, but all parts of beaches were occupied some of the time. There was no shift in position of home ranges or activity centers of five raccoons studied by radiotelemetry between April (when no turtles were present) and the summer nesting season. In terms of energy spent versus energy required, it would probably not be worthwhile for a raccoon to forage on the beaches for turtle eggs alone. There are enough raccoons whose home ranges includ[the beach to account for observed activity, with no shift in ranges. Any one place on the beach is within the home ranges of about 10 raccoons. The number of raccoons on the island probably fluctuates between 400 and 4000, and is usually between 1000 and 2000 (on 29 km² of high ground and about the same area of salt marsh). We observed 23 dead turtles in 1979 and 26 in 1980. The probability that a nest will be found and disturbed by a predator is high at first and declines with time. More than half of all nests are disturbed before hatching occurs. Roughly one-third of disturbances are by raccoons, one-third by pigs, and one-third by other animals or by erosion"--P. [1].
9 p. : ill., maps ; 26 cm.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 9).