Sea Turtles

8 Nov

Florida Sea Turtles

One of the most fun activities to do during the months of May through October is hang out at the beach late at night and look for sea turtles. I was actually with my friend Dana a few months ago at the beach around midnight or so and we found this huge dark mass moving closer to shore and eventually crawling onto the sand. We actually thought it was a dead body washing ashore or something. We ran toward it and saw its huge flippers and shell and it was a beautiful experience watching the turtle lay her eggs. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures because flash photography scares the females and can cause them to drop their eggs in the ocean when they flee.

There are about 5 different species of Sea turtles which inhabit the coasts of Florida. During the summer about 50,000 sea turtles are in Florida waters. Amongst these, the Loggerhead turtle is most common. The female lays about 100 eggs and flings sand over it to disguise them. The hatch after two months and migrate towards the ocean. From there, the babies live in Seaweed beds until they are mature enough for coastal waters.

An Endangered Species

Due to the impact humans have on the beachfront property, there are increased numbers of accidents where baby sea turtles migrate the wrong way towards the artificial lights instead of the reflective ocean surface. They get caught in storm drains, eat plastic, and even get hit by cars. This is a very sad situation and even with new laws that limit light near the beaches it still doesn’t completely prevent this.

A few facts

    • Sea turtles have existed for over one hundred million years.
    • Sea turtles live their entire life in the ocean. The only time they comes ashore is when the female lays her eggs.
    • The nest temperature during incubation determines a sea turtle’s sex. Boys like it cool – Girls like it hot.
    • Turtles can migrate thousands of miles, but usually return to lay their eggs on the same beach where they hatched.
    • Florida beaches are home to 80% of Loggerhead turtles in the U.S.

Sources and more information
Sea Turtles and Pictures
Fish and Wildlife

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