U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version

February 2004


Published by Herpetological Review 35(4), 2004.


On 19 June 2003 at 0217 h, an Opossum (Didelphis virginiann) was observed for 10 min while digging into a marine turtle nest and eating 4 eggs on the beach at St. Lucie Inlet Preserve State Park (SLIPSP) on Jupiter Island, Florida. The predation event was observed using night vision equipment as part of nightly patrols to protect turtle nests from Raccoon (Procyon lotor) and Armadillo (Dasypus noverncinctus) predation during the nesting season (Engeman et al. 2003. Biol. Cons. 113:171-175). After verification of an ongoing predation event, the Opossum was euthanized and removed. Prior to implementing predator removal on this beach, up to 95% of the turtle nests were destroyed annually by Raccoons (Bain et al. 1997). Sea turtle nesting and reproductive success at the Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge (Florida), 1972-1995. Report to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, ARM Loxahatchee NWR). In recent years, Armadillos, a species exotic to the east coast of Florida, have become severe predators of turtle nests (Bain et al., op. cit.; Engeman et al., op. cit.).