Monday, July 24, 2017

Sea turtle nests are beginning to hatch - help protect the hatchlings

 The Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve says they are seeing a busy sea turtle nesting season on Little St. George Island this summer.

They have found 268 sea turtle nests on the island this summer, of those, 262 are loggerhead sea turtles and 6 are green sea turtle nests.

Turtles nest locally on beaches along St. George Island, Alligator Point, Little St. George Island and St. Vincent Island.

This is the time of year that sea turtle nests begin to hatch and baby sea turtles dig themselves out of the sand to brave the dangers of the nighttime beach as they dash for the waves. 

The biggest dangers include predators like household pets, obstacles like beach furniture, and exterior lights that confuse the baby turtles in their search for the ocean.

People can help hatchlings make it safely to the water by removing obstacles from the beach each night and by ensuring that exterior lights are not visible from the nesting beach.

It’s also helpful to keep your dogs and cats indoors at night.

If you are lucky enough to see sea turtle hatchlings on the beach at night, remember to turn off all lights and do not try to help the turtles to the water.

If you find turtles on the beach in the daytime, however, or under a house or in a swimming pool then they likely do need your help.

The best thing to do is to put the baby turtles in a bucket partially filled with sand.

Make sure the bucket is covered with a towel to keep the turtles cool.

Then you can call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission wildlife alert hotline at 888-404-FWCC and they will send someone to safely release the hatchlings.