What To Do If You See a Sea Turtle

Summer is a busy time for our Longboat Key beaches with both people and sea turtles sharing the sand. Though turtle nesting and hatching usually happens in the middle of the night, it is very possible for humans to cross paths with nesting females or hatchlings on their way to the sea.

If you see a female or sea turtle hatchling, it is important to stay out of their way.  Never put your hands on or near the turtle. You should always keep your distance!  Any distractions may frighten or disorient them, causing a female to return to the ocean before finishing her nest, or misdirecting a hatchling away from the water.

Light is also a major for sea turtles! Don't use any flashlights, flash photography, or video equipment while you are on the beach and especially if a sea turtle is present! 

Unfortunately, sea turtle hatchlings must overcome many obstacles in their natural habitat to successfully reach adulthood. After hatching, they must dig out of their nest, a process that may take a few days. Once out, predators feed on them, and any misdirection may leave them lost and, soon, dehydrated by the morning sun. Enjoy the experience from a distance. Don't make it any more difficult for sea turtles to survive.

If you come across a sea turtle that is stranded or dead; a hatchling that is wandering in a road, parking lot, or going in a direction other than the water; or if you see someone disturbing a nest or turtle, call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Division of Law Enforcement at 1-888-404-FWCC or *FWC from your cell phone or contact Mote Marine at 888-345-2335.