Sea Turtle Nesting Season Is Here!
Turtle Season (March 1 – October 31) is underway on Fort Lauderdale’s beaches — and these ancient mariners need all the help they can get. Nearly 90% of sea turtle nesting in the U.S. occurs in Florida. From March through October these creatures will return to their home beaches to lay eggs.
Turtles deposit approximately 100 golf-ball size eggs, gently cover the eggs with sand and then they spread sand over a wide area to obscure the exact location of the chamber. They then leave the nest site and reenter the water.
Since adult sea turtles do not nurture their hatchlings, the female never sees the nest site again. A single female may nest several times during a season and then not nest again for one or two years.
Incubation of the nests takes about 45-55 days. Then, the hatchlings emerge from the nest en masse and quickly migrate to the water’s edge. If artificial lights are lighting the beach, the hatchlings will be disoriented, travel in the wrong direction, and may never make it to the water.
Once in the water, the hatchlings swim directly out to sea, facing a perilous struggle to survive to adulthood. The best scientific estimates available indicate that only one in 1,000 hatchlings will survive (anywhere from 12-50 years) to become a reproductive adult sea turtle.
You Can Help Improve the Chance of Survival for our Turtles:
Lights Out – Hatchlings use the light from the moon to find their way to the water. Lights from the condo or on the beach cause confusion and the hatchling become disoriented and never make it to the ocean.
Clean up Trash – Turtles can become tangled in trash or eat plastic. This will result in serious injury or death. Please do not leave any trash, cigarette butts or plastic on the beach or in the water.
Avoid Nesting and Hatching Turtles – Sea turtles are amazing creatures and we all want to see them, but humans disturb the course of nature when we get too close. Give nesting turtles or nests that are hatching out plenty of space. If you see a turtle or turtle nest on the beach, it is illegal to disturb it – please stay away.
Don’t Leave Holes in the Sand at the End of the Day – Newly hatched turtles are tiny and even our footprints can seem like mountains to these tiny babies. If you build a castle or dig a hole in the sand, smooth it out at the end of the day. It will help save the new hatchlings.
Bring Your Furniture Back to the Sea Wall – At the end of the day, bring all chairs and tables back to the sea wall. The turtles can get caught in these and die.
Reduce the Amount of Chemicals You Use – Chemicals that you use around your home can make their way to the water and they can kill plants and animals. If you have toxic chemicals and cleaning supplies, dispose of them properly and find safer alternatives.