In the last six weeks of the nesting season on Volusia County beaches, sea turtles have set a new record with 1,482 nests (and counting!) surpassing last year’s 1,427. Volunteers and staff found over 33,000 hatched egg shells since June.
Loggerheads top the beach with 1,251 nests. Green sea turtles have outdone themselves with 231 nests, up from the old record of 98. Also, 5 leatherback nests and 4 Kemp’s ridley nests were spotted. Hatchlings brave dangers like lights from beachfront proper ties, trash and holes left by beachgoers as they head to the ocean.
Bright beachfront lights might seem harmless, but they deter adult female sea turtles from nesting and disorients newborn hatchlings trying to find their way to the sea.
Beach residents can help ensure the safety of the nesting turtles and little hatchlings by shifting the lights away from the beach and turning them off during periods of inactivity. The moon’s light is all these turtles need to navigate their way to the ocean.
Keep a safe distance when you spot a nesting adult sea turtle or hatchlings heading to the ocean. In case of immediate turtle danger, alert lifeguards, Beach Safety, or call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 888-404-3922. At night, call the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office at 386-248-1777, ext. 3.