Sharing the Beach with Sea Turtles

Fill your holes!

It is that time of year!  The sea turtles are returning to our area to lay their eggs.  Here is a list of things you can do to help sea turtles thrive.  Most of these guidelines are common sense and you probably know them already!


If you are on the beach at night:

  • Don’t use a flashlight on the beach.  If you must, be sure to use a red flashlight so you don’t disrupt nesting or hatchling sea turtles.
  • Turn off cell phones or keep the screen as dark as possible; the light from the screen is very disruptive to sea turtles.
  • Do not take flash photos.  If you have an infrared or night vision setting, use it.
  • Throw away trash in a garbage can or take it with you when you leave the beach.
  • If you see hatchlings at night heading to the ocean, let them go on their own.  If you see hatchlings going towards the dune or beachfront light source, pick them up and take them to the water’s edge and release them.
  • Do not approach any sea turtle on the beach or emerging from the ocean; you may scare her back into the ocean… and it is against the law!  Stay still and let her pass.  


If you are on the beach during the day:

  • Throw away trash in a garbage can or take it with you when you leave the beach.
  • Dispose of fishing line so it will not entangle sea turtles or shorebirds.
  • If you dig, fill in holes before you leave the beach.  Such holes can be harmful or fatal to adult sea turtles, hatchlings, and humans walking the beach.
  • Respect marked nests and do not move the stakes for any reason.
  • Remove beach furniture when you leave the beach or stack it near the dune so a sea turtle will not get trapped by the furniture.
  • If you see hatchlings on the beach during the day, pick them up off of the hot sand and take them to a lifeguard, park ranger, or Gumbo Limbo Nature Center.  There is a sea turtle hatchling drop-off box at the main entrance.


If you live on the beach:

  • Turn off your lights and/or use a full cut-off or shielded fixture to put the light where you need it to see.
  • If you live in a condominium at the beach, encourage your condo manager to check that no lights on the condo property are visible from the beach.
  • Close your curtains and/or blinds.


Things everyone can do to help:

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