Turtle time: Loggerhead nesting season begins Tuesday, brings important reminder

Posted May 02, 2018

If you encounter an adult or newborn sea turtle, leave it be.

"Because all sea turtles are protected, people need to be very careful not to do anything that might interfere with their behavior".

While most of the laying and hatching will be done at night, experts say it is important to avoid disturbing the sea turtles when you see them.

After the young turtles hatch, they navigate to the ocean by following the slope of the beach and skylight reflected off the ocean's surface.

Sea turtle nesting season begins May 1, and sea turtles are protected by federal law.

"If people are concerned about the turtle - if it seems to be injured or dead - they should contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission", McGuire said.

Officials say feeding the turtles is also prohibited. Other reports said people on the beach have scared away nesting sea turtles.

MOTE scientists will again mark the turtles' nest with yellow sticks to protect them and to help limit public interaction with the nests. Lights that are brighter than this natural light, such as a flashlight, disorient the hatchlings and cause them to move inland, where they often die of dehydration, drown in pools or get hit by a auto. Hatchlings use starlight and moonlight reflecting off the water to find their way to the sea, and if they become misled by artificial light, they can become disoriented and die.

So, don't use flashlights, flash photography or cell phone lights on the beach at night. If any of your interior lights are also visible from the beach or cast light on the beach, close your blinds or drapes at 10 p.m. or turn them off.

The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life.