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Sea Turtle Nesting - Tips for Keeping Our Beaches Safe

If you visit Florida beaches between May 1 and October 31, you’ve probably seen the signs of sea turtle nests. Yellow sticks in the ground that mark the nests. During peak season, the beach looks like a highway construction zone – there are yellow sticks everywhere! This is actually a good sign, as it shows the number of nesting sea turtles. There are actually people who volunteer to mark and count the number of nests and the number of hatchlings. But they aren’t the only ones who play a role in patrolling our beaches. Everyone needs to do their fair share to keep our beaches sea turtle friendly.

Tracks from a nesting sea turtle on the beach.
Tracks from a nesting sea turtle.

Here are some tips of things you can do, or not do, when at the beach:

  1. Do not disturb nesting turtles or their hatchlings: even turtles need social distancing and everyone deserves some privacy, right? ;-)

  2. Do not dig up the nest. Those yellow sticks are NOT marking where a pirate buried his treasure.

  3. After you’ve buried Uncle Fred in the sand, fill in the hole (obviously AFTER you’ve removed Uncle Fred). You don’t want the momma or little hatchling to fall in the hole and get stuck.

  4. Pick up your trash – Seriously! This applies whether or not it’s nesting season.

  5. Don’t leave anything on the beach that the nesting turtles or hatchlings can get tangled up in. Yup, this also means beach furniture.

  6. Avoid the use of bright lights: outdoor lights shouldn’t be shining on the beach, and don’t use flashlights, fishing lamps, or cell phone lights while on the beach. Lights can disturb and disorient the nesting momma and hatchlings. The hatchlings typically emerge during the night and use the natural light of the moon to guide them to the water.

  7. Don’t set off fireworks on the beach. The loud noise disturbs more than just sea turtles.

If you want to learn more about our local sea turtles or follow the progress of the season, check out Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium and the Coastal Wildlife Club (responsible for Sea Turtle Patrol on Manasota Key).

Sea turtle hatchling swimming in the Gulf of Mexico.
Sea turtle hatchling's first swim in the Gulf.

If you are lucky enough, you might actually get to see a nesting sea turtle or hatchlings emerging from their nest. It’s a sight you won’t soon forget.

To celebrate the official start of the 2021 Sea Turtle Nesting Season (even though I believe we’ve already had our first crawl), Seaside Serenity Creations LLC is offering 10% off Sea Turtle items in our store from May 1 through May 15. Just use promo code: SEATURTLE10

Let the season begin!!

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