PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - The sea turtle eggs are due to hatch any day now. That's why the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies is keeping a close watch on a loggerhead turtle nest in Pass Christian.
Within ear shot of some Labor Day sun seekers, Dr. Debra Moore used her stethoscope to monitor any underground movement from loggerhead turtle hatchlings.
"We just kind of check around the area, in general," she said.
She carefully scrapes back some sand and places the instrument on the surface.
"If we hear movement, then we say oh it's imminent, we know that they're coming up. So, we'll be spotting it and watching it. And then they'll dig their way out and head out to the gulf," she said.
Heading to the water is Mother Nature's plan for the hatchlings. But with the nest situated between the water's edge and a busy highway, the babies could go astray.
"Generally, they hatch, go up to the surface and go to the water. Things that really cause a problem for them are light pollution. In areas where you have a lot of light pollution, they might go the wrong way and head across the highway," said Dr. Eric Pulis, a marine conservation ecologist with IMMS.
The nest has attracted attention, especially from nearby residents.
"Hopefully, it won't be long," said Rhonda Williams to her friends. She is among the locals anxiously awaiting any news of the hatchlings.
"We knew the nest was down here from watching the news," she said, "It's very exciting. Something new to see."
With the hatchlings likely to emerge at night, there's a good chance no one may see the baby loggerheads. And making it to the water safely involves more than finding the moonlight's reflection.
"We're concerned with predation. We've got a lot of birds around here that could come down and eat them," said Dr. Moore.
"Right now, we're just waiting for the eggs to mature and hatch. You know, if it's cooler it takes a little longer. If it's hotter, they go a little quicker," Dr. Pulis added.
Again, the baby turtles are expected to hatch sometime in early September, which means it could be any day, or night, now.
There could be up to 100 eggs in the nest. But the odds of survival are not good. Only one-percent of loggerhead hatchlings reach adulthood.