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Environment

Sea Turtles Hatching on Florida Beaches; Keep Them Safe With Tips From FWC

Side view of a Loggerhead hatchling.
Side view of a Loggerhead hatchling.

Baby sea turtles are currently hatching, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is asking the public to help keep these tiny turtles safe with some tips.

Tips from FWC:

Keep your distance. Give sea turtles space if you see one on the beach. Never touch a nesting turtle because it might leave the beach without nesting if disturbed.

During sea turtle nesting season (March 1-Oct. 31), it is important to keep your distance from sea turtles and their nests on the beach. You should allow hatchlings to crawl toward the ocean on their own. Any interference or disturbance, including getting too close, can cause hatchlings to become confused and lose their way.

Keep beaches dark. After sundown, turn off any lights not necessary for human safety. Use long wavelength amber LED lamps for lights that must stay lit and shield lights, so they are not visible from the beach. Remember to close shades or curtains at night.

No flash photos. On the beach at night, don’t take flash photos or use bright cellphones or flashlights. This can cause turtles to become disoriented and crawl away from the ocean, putting them at risk.

Bright lights from buildings, cell phones or cameras can cause them to become disoriented, leading the hatchlings to stray away from the shoreline where they need to swim and start their life. If they are unable to reach the ocean quickly, they can become dehydrated and exhausted, making them an easy meal for predators.

Clear the way at the end of the day. Beach furniture, boats, toys and trash left behind on the sand can become obstacles that block crawling sea turtles. Fill in any holes dug in the sand. Holes can trap turtles and they also pose a safety risk to humans.

You can report sea turtles that are injured, dead, entangled or in danger to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline: 888-404-3922 so trained responders can help.

Learn more about Florida’s sea turtles at MyFWC.com/SeaTurtle.

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