Welcome Sea Turtle Season, 2012

March 1, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Posted in For the Family | Leave a comment

See this little guy? Cute, isn’t he? He’s on his way to the ocean! His journey begins here, in the sand, as he does his little sea turtle shuffle to the ocean. Cute as he is, and tempting as it may be, leave him to his journey and admire with your eyes only!

Today, March 1st, begins “Sea Turtle Season”. Soon, Momma turtles will be making their way onto beaches to lay their eggs. Leatherbacks will start showing up soon, followed later by Greens and Loggerheads, and hopefully the more rare Hawksbill and Kemp’s Ridley.

While it is important to leave these cute little critters alone, there is always an exception to the rule. Sometimes these hatchlings become confused and disorientated, leading them in the wrong direction and possibly toward traffic. Also, during rough storms, it’s not always easy for them to actually make it out to sea. In the occasion you find one that needs help, places like Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton, FL have a Turtle Drop Box. (Pictured above)  If a hatchling is found at any time of day or night, you can feel good about dropping it off with them, knowing you helped an endangered baby. If you don’t happen to live in the Boca Raton area, you have other options, I just don’t happen to know them BUT good ol’ Google would be happy to help you out with that.

On the flip side, should you be walking the beach and happen upon an adult sea turtle (or anything larger than a hatchling), this is not the time to sit back and watch. (With the exception of nesting turtles at night, in which case you need to turn off your flashlight as the light can confuse or frighten a nesting mother and keep your distance so as not to disturb her. After having given birth myself, trust me, leave animals alone when “it’s time”… it’s a courtesy to them AND the law not to bother them.) If it is day time though, and you see a beached sea turtle, something is wrong! These are not your pet turtles at home, they don’t come on to the beach to rest and sun themselves. They could be sick or injured and your quick attention to the matter could save them. You’re encouraged to call Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission at 1-888-404-FWCC.

This Saturday is the 7th Anual Sea Turtle Day at Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. It’s a FREE event (though a donation is greatly appreciated) and all about the turtles and other native plants and animals. This year, they will be unveiling theyr new tank pavillions. If you’ve ever wanted to see sea turtles, but don’t really like what salt water does to your hair, Gumbo Limbo is the PERFECT place to do that. Can’t make it to Sea Turtle Day? No problem, they’re open year round for when you can make it!

Let’s all have a wonderful Sea Turtle Season!  And remember, if you’re lucky enough to be living on the beach, lights out!

For general sea turtle info.

http://www.conserveturtles.org/

For information about Gumbo Limbo Nature Center.

http://www.gumbolimbo.org/

And for information about the importance of dark night skies for sea turtles.

http://seaturtleop.org/broward/

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