Pensacola Beach celebrated its first sea turtle hatch of the season Tuesday night, Aug. 11. Sixty-one loggerhead hatchlings safely reached the Gulf of Mexico, despite being disoriented by artificial lighting. After this first hatch, there are currently 25 nests on Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key with three loggerhead nests discovered on Pensacola Beach last week.
"This is the first hatch of the season for Escambia County nests and more will follow in the coming weeks," said Marine Resources Division Manager Captain Robert Turpin. "After a slower than normal start, nesting activity picked up through late June and July, so nests will likely continue to hatch into September and October."
Nearly 60% of all turtle hatchlings will be disorientated by land-based lights, which can cause them to wander away from the Gulf of Mexico. Hatchlings that don’t reach the water quickly are at risk of dehydration, starvation and predation. Disoriented hatchlings can also wander into busy roads, garages and swimming pools.
Every hatchling counts! Help Protect Hatchlings Turtles by Remembering:
- Lights Out! Both hatchlings and nesting turtles need dark beaches to find the Gulf of Mexico. Leave the flashlights and cell phones at home or use a red flashlight when on the beach at night. Turn off beach-facing lights and close windows and curtains to keep our beaches dark.
- Leave Only Footprints! Remove all furniture and toys from the beach when you’re done for the day, including hammocks, tents, canopies, chairs, toys and sports equipment.
- If You Dig it, Fill It! Large holes, trenches and moats create dangerous obstacles for hatchling and nesting sea turtles. Avoid digging large holes on the beach and flatten sandcastles and fill in holes at the end of your day.
If you see a nest hatching or encounter hatchlings turtles on the beach, call Escambia County Marine Resources at (850) 426-1257 or (850) 554-5869. If you encounter a nesting turtle, turn off all lights and retreat a safe distance away.
If you are a property manager or owner and are interested in how you can make your property more turtle-friendly, please contact Samantha Bolduc at (850) 595-3460 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about sea turtles in Escambia County visit www.myescambia.com/seaturtles. All sea turtle work performed by Escambia County was completed under Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission permit #032A. Photos within this release are general photos.