While some insurance companies might be leaving the state, mother sea turtles are returning to the beaches! Been to the beach recently? Have you noticed all the wooden stakes in the ground, typically creating a square shape, tied together by an orange ribbon? As you probably know, these stakes mark turtle nests, where the eggs are protected only by sand, just 2 to 5 feet below the surface. Turtle season in Florida runs May 1st-Oct. 31st and during this time, thousands of mother sea turtles will emerge from the water (usually in the dark) to dig a nest and lay her eggs, often returning to the same beach where they were born.
If you’re headed to the beach between May and October, chances are likely that you’ll notice a nesting area close by as there are thousands along the East and West coast of Florida during these months. It’s important to give the nests space and to not disturb them. If the sun has set, keep lights as minimal as possible (non-existent is best) or use turtle friendly lighting that’s been approved by Florida Fish and Wildlife. Lights can disorient the sea turtle hatchlings and discourage the mothers from coming ashore to lay their eggs. We all know, turtle season or not, it’s always good to remove all trash and debris but, protecting eggs from predators by removing trash is especially important for Florida’s five species of turtles and their eggs. If you see things like fishing line, plastic can rings, or plastic bags, pick them up because they can be extra harmful for both hatchlings and their mothers. It’s also important to leave hatchling tracks undisturbed (if you’re fortunate enough to spot them).
If you really want to get involved, learn, and hopefully watch mother nature in action, there are numerous ways to volunteer ~ start by looking online for groups in your area to become involved with!