Florida's Space Coast is a top spot for sea turtle nesting. Did you know that 90% of all Loggerhead nesting occurs in Florida, and a large majority of this nesting takes place on our beautiful Space Coast beaches? In Brevard County, the official season kicks off on May 1 and ends on October 31.
So what does this mean to us, residents of the Space Coast? It means that we have a responsibility to ensure that the turtle nests are as safe as possible by taking the following precautions when we visit the beach:
- Do not disturb turtle nests. Chances are you've seen a sea turtle nest; if it's a fresh nest, you will also see the turtle's tracks going from the water to the nest and back. Turtle nests look like a shallow teardrop shaped "hole" that is full of buried eggs, usually near the dunes. You will notice that the sand on top has been recently disturbed, as the mother dug the hole, laid the eggs, and covered the hole with sand. Never touch a sea turtle, the nest, or the hatchlings.
- Don't dig holes on the beach. As the turtle crawls up the beach to make her nest, she could get stuck in a man-made hole. If you dig a hole, fill it in before you leave the beach. The same goes for sand castles.
- Keep the beach dark. If you are on the beach at night, use only amber-colored lights or flashlights. If your home is on the beach, turn off all outdoor lights and keep curtains closed at night. Use designated walkways. Use beach crosswalks and do not climb on the dunes.
- Keep the beach clean. Dispose of trash properly, and do not leave beach furniture out if you live near the beach.
For more information, visit the Sea Turtle Preservation Society's website!