Sea turtle nesting season began Monday, and turtles are expected to bury their eggs in nests up and down the Northeast Florida coast until October.
People and wildlife present a threat to these turtles, which are important to maintaining the health of our oceans, including protecting coral reefs.
To keep them safe, there are a few rules to follow:
- Always give turtles their space if you spot one coming on shore to nest.
- If you see a nest, do NOT go near it.
- Turn off any lights at the beach at night including not using flash when taking pictures.
- Also avoid making any loud noises. Disturbances could lead to a “false crawl” -- that’s when the mother returns to the ocean without laying eggs on the beach.
Another way you can help is by keeping the beaches clean. Pick up any food or other garbage you have with you. Leftover food could attract other wildlife, putting the turtles in danger.
And be sure to fill in any holes you make during your time at the beach. These can trap the turtles and prevent them from nesting.
Sea turtles and their hatchlings need a flat surface too, so you’re asked to flatten sand castles before you leave.
If you see someone disturbing a sea turtle nest -- or find an injured turtle -- report it to Florida Fish and Wildlife by calling 888-404-3922, or sending a text to “#FWC.”