Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission offers tips to help turtles hatch

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FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline: 1-888-404-3922

Hatchlings of sea turtles are starting to appear on beaches in Sunshine State, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is asking the public to ensure these tiny turtles reach the ocean by following a few simple guidelines. (FWC image)

(FWC) – Hatchlings of sea turtles are starting to appear on beaches in Sunshine State, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is calling on the public to ensure these tiny turtles reach the ocean by following a few simple guidelines.

During sea turtle nesting season (March 1 to October 31), it is important to keep your distance from these protected marine reptiles and their nests.

You should allow newborns to crawl out to the ocean on their own. Any interference or disturbance, including getting too close, can confuse newborns and lose their way.

Bright lights, whether from buildings, phones, or cameras, can also confuse them, causing newborns to stray from the waves. If they are unable to reach the ocean quickly, they can become vulnerable to dehydration, exhaustion, and predators.

“Interfering with a hatchling sea turtle’s journey to the ocean can have fatal consequences,” said Robbin Trindell, FWC sea turtle biologist. “It is very important to leave them alone.

By keeping the beaches dark and allowing space for the sea turtles, we can ensure that our children and grandchildren can also enjoy watching them take this amazing trip.

There are many ways to tell the difference for Florida sea turtles:

• Keep the beaches dark for sea turtles – After sunset, turn off all lights not necessary for personal safety. Use long wavelength orange LED lights for lights that need to stay on and protect the lights, so they are not visible from the beach. Remember to close any blinds or curtains.

• No flash photo – On the beach at night, do not take flash photos and do not use cell phones or bright flashlights. This can confuse turtles and cause them to crawl away from the ocean, putting them in danger.

• Remember that sea turtles are protected by law. – Stay back and make room for sea turtles if you see one on the beach at night. Do not touch a nesting turtle as it may leave the beach without nesting if disturbed. Remember, it is illegal to harm or disturb nesting sea turtles, their nests, eggs, or hatchlings.

• Clear the path at the end of the day – Beach furniture, awnings, boats and toys left on the sand can become obstacles that block nesting and hatchlings of turtles. Fill in the holes in the sand. The holes can trap turtles and can also pose a safety risk to other beach goers.

Before taking action, report sick, injured, dead, entangled, or endangered sea turtles to the FWC Wildlife Hotline: 1-888-404-3922 or text [email protected]

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


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