Sea Turtle Season starts in the Gulf Coast: May 1 to October 31

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Leatherback Sea Turtle (credit: Sea Turtle Conservancy)

Leatherback Sea Turtle (credit: Sea Turtle Conservancy)

Look out for sea turtles on your Florida Vacation

Sea turtle season starts 2 months later on the Gulf coast, but as of today, it’s time to be aware of Florida’s sea turtles and their coastal habitats. As you enjoy your time on the beach, know that you are sharing it with sea turtles and that this important nesting area is vital to their survival.

Light Disturbance

Lights disturb nesting turtles and hatchlings so make sure you keep lighting to a minimum by following these tips:

  • don’t use flashlights or flash settings on your camera if you’re on the beach during the evening
  • remove any items from the beach, such as beach chairs or umbrellas
  • remove any trash when you leave the beach, especially plastic bags and other non-degradable pollutants – they cause many deaths for sea turtles (watch the video below)
  • close blinds or drapes if you have lights on inside that can shine onto the beach
  • turn off porch lights and shield lights

If you see a nesting sea turtle

Nesting turtles are in a vulnerable state so don’t shine lights of any kind on or near her as there’s a danger that she could abandon the nest. If you are staying to watch, make sure you remain behind her and out of her sight.And if she crawls back to the water, stay out of her way!

If you see a hatchling wandering in daylight

During the day, a hatchling should not be on the sand – place it on moist sand and in a dry container, and keep it in the shade. Call Turtle Time right away (239-481-5566) for the next steps. If you’re out of Turtle Time’s region, call Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC) at 1-888-404-FWCC.

The Law

If you touch, disturb or disrupt nesting sea turtles, their nests or hatchlings as they’re making their way to sea, you are breaking the law. Sea turtles are under both federal and state law protection.

Their Survival

The loggerhead sea turtle, the most common in Florida, is classified as threatened due to pollution, nesting habitat loss, shrimp net drowning and beaches that are lit up at night. Please do your part to help in their preservation. You can visit the Turtle Time website to view the nest data - they are a Florida state-permitted non-profit organization that patrol nesting areas and monitor sea turtle activity from Fort Myers Beach to Lee-Collier County.

The Video

Tell us…

Has your love of sea turtles increased ever since you watched Finding Nemo?