TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is reminding beachgoers that it’s still sea turtle hatchling season and to be very careful.
The FWC recently released video of sea turtle hatchlings on Jupiter Beach, along with other photos and tips.
In Tampa Bay, there are five types of sea turtles that nest from May 1 to Oct. 31 – and all are protected by state statutes. Loggerhead, green, leatherback, Kemp’s Ridley and Hawksbill sea turtles all reside in our state.
“Interfering with a sea turtle hatchling’s trek to the ocean can have fatal consequences,” FWC sea turtle biologist Dr. Robbin Trindell said.
“It’s very important to leave them undisturbed,” Trindell added. “By keeping beaches dark, beachfront buildings dark and giving sea turtles space, we can make sure that our children and grandchildren can also enjoy watching them make this amazing journey.”
For those who live along the beach, the FWC says you should turn off all unnecessary lighting, such as runner lights or uplighting of vegetation, in areas that are visible from the beach.
Conservationists also urge beachgoers to fill in holes and knock down sandcastles as they leave the beach to aid in mother turtles’ and hatchlings’ journeys back to the ocean. All beach furniture should be removed nightly as well, as they create obstacles for turtle mothers and the animals can become entangled in things like beach chairs.
If you come across a stranded or dead turtle, a hatchling that is wandering in any direction other than the water or if you see someone disturbing a nest or turtle, call FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement at 1-888-404-FWCC or *FWC.