Amelia Island sea turtles hatch, make their way to the ocean

Sea turtle hatchling makes it to the ocean in Amelia Island (Claire Pulignano)

AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. – News4JAX reported Wednesday morning that there were 1,021 sea turtle nests found along St. Johns County beaches.

Further up the coast in Amelia Island in Nassau County, News4JAX viewer, Claire Pulignano, sent us some pretty cute images and videos of sea turtle hatchlings crawling toward the ocean.

Pulignano told us five hatchlings came out on Amelia Island during the day -- which is rare. She is a teacher, and was spending the day on the beach before she goes back to school -- that’s when she saw the little babies make their trek to the ocean.

Sea turtle hatchlings in Amelia Island Wednesday July 27, 2022 (Claire Pulignano)

Sea turtle nesting season is Mar. 1- Oct. 31. They are protected so it’s important to keep your distance and allow the hatchlings to crawl toward the ocean on their own.

Just last week we told you that Sea Turtle Patrol volunteers discovered a nest at Naval Station Mayport. The volunteers also began to witness the nests hatching.

RELATED: It’s the law: Help nesting sea turtles by respecting their nests | Hole digging TikTok challenge creates deadly hazard for sea turtles

There are a lot of things we can do to protect these little treasures.

  • Keep beaches dark. After sundown, turn off any lights not necessary for human safety. Use long wavelength amber LED lamps for lights that must stay lit and shield lights, so they are not visible from the beach. Remember to close shades or curtains at night.
  • No flash photos. On the beach at night, don’t take flash photos or use bright cellphones or flashlights. This can cause turtles to become disoriented and crawl away from the ocean, putting them at risk.
  • Remember, sea turtles are protected by law. Keep your distance and give sea turtles space if you see one on the beach. Never touch a nesting turtle because it might leave the beach without nesting if disturbed.
  • Clear the way at the end of the day. Beach furniture, boats, toys and trash left behind on the sand can become obstacles that block crawling sea turtles. Fill in any holes dug in the sand. Holes can trap turtles and they also pose a safety risk to humans.
Sea turtle nest on Amelia Island (Claire Pulignano)

If you see someone disturbing a sea turtle nest, or see an injured, dead or harassed sea turtle, report it to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922). Cell phone users can also call *FWC or #FWC or send a text to Tip@MyFWC.com.

For more information about nesting sea turtles and how you can help, visit MyFWC.com/SeaTurtle or see the FWC’s “Be a Beach Hero” brochure. You can also help sea turtles by reporting anyone disturbing a sea turtle or nest, as well as sea turtles that are sick, injured, entangled or dead to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).


About the Authors:

Marilyn has been Digital Director since October 2021. She supervises Jacksonville's number one news website and most trusted source for local news.

Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.