CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Tis' the season for turtles!
Sea turtle nesting season is officially underway, and staff at Clearwater Marine Aquarium have been out patrolling the beaches to make sure the threatened and endangered species survive.
- Nesting season lasts until Oct. 31
- Residents asked to clean up beach trash, admire turtles from distance
- Link: Clearwater Marine Aquarium
Lindsey Flynn supervises the Sea Turtle Conservation Program and is gearing up for a busy nesting season.
"They'll create a body pit in the sand with their front flippers and an egg chamber with their rear flippers. They'll deposit between 80-120 eggs in that chamber," Flynn said.
While that may seem like a big number, Flynn said that sadly a lot of the hatchlings don't always survive the trek from the sand to the water.
The turtles rely on the light from the moon and the stars but Flynn said they can get distracted and confused by artificial light coming from coastal development.
"We find that a lot of our baby hatchlings are staying on the beach too long and getting dehydrated and unfortunately pass away," Flynn said.
Flynn and staff at CMA ask beachfront businesses and property owners to switch to amber or red LED lights to help keep hatchlings on the right track. CMA staff members have already been out patrolling the beaches and setting up barriers to protect the nests.
They ask visitors to clean up their trash, flatten sand castles, fill in any holes, and most importantly, admire from a distance.
"Any time of the year they face some sort of threat, so it's so important that we do whatever we can to help them," Flynn said.
Nesting season lasts until Oct. 31.
Staff at Clearwater Marine Aquarium said all seven species of sea turtles are either endangered or threatened. If you think you see a sea turtle in distress call FWC at 1-888-404-FWCC or the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.