Sea Turtle Season | May 1st – Oct. 31st
Every May 1st, Sea Turtle season arrives to Ponce Inlet and surrounding beaches. During the next four months ending October 31st, we get a glimpse into the amazing works of Mother nature. If you’re staying at theCondo during these four months, there are a few things to be aware of…read on.
There are 5 species of Sea Turtles that nest on the Florida coastal beaches (see images below):
- Loggerhead (Caretta caretta)
- Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas)
- Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea)
- Kemp’s Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii)
- Hawksbill (Eretmochelys)
The rarest of these 5 species of turtles is the Kemp’s Ridley. Since 1988, only 10 of these critically endangered Kemp’s Ridley’s has nested on the beaches of Volusia County…it’s now 2017.
The most common turtle seen in Ponce Inlet is the Loggerhead which on average, measures 35 inches…nearly 3 feet! The lifespan of these turtles is nearly 70 years.
What Sea Turtle Season Mean to You
- Turn off Balcony Lights
- Close your blinds if your indoor lighting is on
- Don’t use flashlights or lanterns when walking beach
- If you do use a flashlight, use a red lens
- Stay 30 feet away from a Mother turtle and hatlchings
- If you a nest has been marked, leave it alone
Lighting Confuses the Turtles
Beginning on May 1st…if not a few days earlier, please be thoughtful of your late night beach lighting habits.
Sea Turtles come ashore most exclusively at night during the nesting season for safety from predators and rely on celestial light to find a nesting spot. After they lay the eggs, they again rely on celestial light and other cues to get back to the ocean.
The use of balcony lights, street lights, flashlights and lanterns when we walk the ocean at night, confuses the turtles and in some cases, they simply won’t come ashore to nest.
The turtles that do come ashore, can get disoriented by the aforementioned sources of un-natural light and have been seen to circle right back into the ocean never making it up the beach to nest. Even worse, they end up in parking lots and streets.
After Mom turtle lays her eggs, about two months later, the baby turtles hatch and show amazing sea-finding behavior.
Although the cues involved for the baby turtles to find the ocean are complex, “hatchlings rely primarily on vision for proper orientation.”
People wandering the beach with flashlights and lanterns at night will disorientate these little sea searching babies. If your hell bent on using a flashlight, use a red lens. Studies show that red lensed flashlights minimize the disorientating effects that “normal” lights have; Pick a red lens flashlight here on Amazon! They’re inexpensive and will help out.
As far as the balcony light while you’re staying theCondo vacation rental, it has a turtle safe light installed so that you really don’t have to worry about it. BUT, it sure wouldn’t hurt to just turn the light off at night…just in case.
theCondo has vertical blinds in both the master bedroom and the living room…please close at night if you have the inside lights on.
Keep Your Distance
If it’s not already obvious, don’t disturb a Turtle crawling on the beach or laying eggs…stay at least 30 feet away.
The worst thing you can do is get near the turtle and shine a light on them.
Avoid walking on the dunes. The turtles usually nest near the dunes which is defined as “a mound or ridge of sand or other loose sediment formed by the wind, especially on the sea coast or in a desert.”
The worst thing you can do is get near the turtle and shine a light on or around them.
Part of the efforts to revive and protect these endangered species is to mark the nests so that people know where avoid disturbing and so that the nest can be tracked and counted.
I know when I first saw the markers, I had no idea what they were for so, here is a picture to help you know what you’re looking at.
Fun Sea Turtle FAQ’s
- Sea Turtles live to be nearly 70 years old
- When mother Turtle lays eggs, she lays nearly 100
- The eggs will hatch in about 45 to 70 days
- After hatching, the baby turtles frantically find their way to the ocean and swim for nearly 24 hours out into the ocean…a naturally safer place for them to survive.