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(WGHP) — Why do sea turtles lay “spacer” eggs?

That’s the question officials with the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Park Service are asking after digging up several mysterious eggs along the North Carolina coast.

Even though they are called spacer eggs, park officials say they are not used for filling space.

Loggerhead turtle eggs are about the size of a ping pong ball. Spacer eggs are much smaller, and a baby turtle will not hatch from one.

Park officials have a few theories about what purpose the spacer eggs may serve:

  • they might stop sand from getting into the nest cavity
  • they might satisfy a predator that would eat regular eggs otherwise
  • they could just be a mistake that happens while the eggs are being made

The mysterious eggs are usually seen in leatherback turtle nests and are more rarely seen in loggerhead nests.