Nearly all species of sea turtle are classified as endangered, and some, like the Kemp’s Ridley, are critically endangered. Baby sea turtles face many obstacles when first leaving their nests — such as raccoons, crabs, birds and fish. Sea turtle hatchlings use the light of the moon to guide themselves to the water, but can often get distracted by bright lights from beach homes, condos and businesses facing the beach. That’s why it’s so important to always be respectful and considerate of nesting sea turtles and hatchlings to ensure that future generations get to enjoy them too. Here are some helpful tips:
GO DARK - When walking the beach at night during turtle season, remember to use a red flashlight. Sea turtles and hatchlings are less likely to be attracted and disoriented by red lighting.
TURTLE ETIQUETTE - Don’t touch or harass a nesting sea turtle or baby hatchlings as they leave their nest. Watch quietly from a distance and never shine lights or use flash photography, which could disorient them.
FILL IT IN and KNOCK IT DOWN - Fill in large holes, knock down sand castles and other obstacles to leave the beach flat for nesting sea turtles.
LEAVE NO TRACE BEHIND – Remove all tents, canopies, furniture, toys and other obstacles from the beach every night.
If you see a sea turtle or hatchling that is sick, injured, in distress or deceased, please call the local authorities and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission 24-hour hotline at 888-404-3922.