EXTENSION CONNECTION: No flashlights on the beach, and other tips for sea turtle nesting season

Published: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 11:03 AM.

Beach season is almost here, and that also brings sea turtle nesting season. 

Sea turtles begin nesting in Florida in March, but on the Emerald Coast, the season spans May through October. Five species of sea turtles nest in Florida; four of them — loggerhead, green, kemps ridley and leatherbacks — have nested on Northwest Florida beaches. 

The loggerhead, the most common sea turtle found in Florida, typically lays four to seven nests every two or more years. Each clutch contains around 100 eggs, incubating in the sand about 60 days. These numbers can shift depending on the season, climate and beach conditions.

The numbers of eggs and nests can be higher for green sea turtles and similar or lower for leatherbacks. 

Hatchlings are born with the instinct to move toward the brightest horizon, which should lead them to the ocean, so artificial lighting frequently causes disorientations.

All year-round, it is important to keep our beaches wildlife friendly.  Here are some ways to do this:

•Keep lights off, close drapes at night, and use low-wavelength bulbs and wildlife-friendly fixtures. This prevents disorientation for adult nesting turtles and hatchlings.

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