VIDEO: Sea turtle hatchlings sprint to the sea in Charlotte County
CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. — A sea turtle nest in Charlotte County hatched recently, and county officials were lucky enough to capture the moment the hatchlings rushed to the water.
The video shows the sea turtles crawl out of their nest and race towards the safety of the sea.
Florida is home to many species of sea turtles. Beaches in Southwest Florida host three species: loggerhead, green, and Kemp’s ridley sea turtles.
Each nesting season, local officials install temporary stakes and educational signs around nesting areas to create a buffer zone between humans and turtle nests.
When visiting SWFL beaches, be sure to give nests plenty of space and to fill any holes dug and knock down sandcastles. Baby turtles often get stuck in holes in the sand and sandcastles create a barrier from the safety of the sea.
Beach chairs and other furniture can also create a barrier between land and sea, so be sure to pack up all your belongings when heading home from the beach.
If on the beach at night, do not use flashlights or cellphone lights as they can deter mother turtles from nesting and confuse hatchlings dashing to the water.
Contrary to popular belief, sea turtle hatchlings do not depend on lunar light to lead them to the ocean. The baby turtles have an inborn tendency to move in the brightest direction, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
On a natural beach, the brightest direction is most often the open view of the night sky over — and reflected by — the ocean. This sea-finding behavior can take place during any phase and position of the moon.
If you come across a hatchling that is wandering away from the water, take it to a dark area of the beach and let it walk into the surf on its own. Also, notify local natural resource or environmental protection agencies by calling 1-888-404-FWCC.
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