Information on Sea Turtles and what you can do

Sea Turtle Tips

St. John's County sea turtles are part of the northern family of turtles who are more threatened than the southern turtles, perhaps due to the lack of a large area of nesting sites and the cooler weather. 

Swimming Sea TurtleAdult turtles face mostly man-made threats:
  • Loss of habitat.
  • Disorientation from artificial light.
  • By-catch in shrimp trawls.
  • Ingestion of plastic bags, balloons, ribbon and other debris mistaken for food. [See FL balloon release statute].
  • Wounds from boat propellers.
  • Obstacles on beach which prevent nesting.
  • Poaching.
Hatchling Crawling in SandHatchlings face both man-made and natural threats:
  • Disorientation from artificial light.
  • Nest predation by animals and human vandals.
  • Post-emergent predation by birds, crabs and marine life.
  • Obstacles on beach that can trap hatchlings.
How You Can Help:
  • Limit night-time beach activity during nesting season.
  • Turn off or shield all beach lighting and keep seaward windows covered.
  • Keep beach clean of trash, especially balloons, ribbons and plastic bags.
  • Keep beach furniture and toys out of nesting areas.
  • Do not disturb sea turtle tracks, eggs, adults, hatchlings or nest markers.
  • Report all incidents of disturbance that you may witness to the appropriate authorities.
  • Never use flash photography or flashlights, even red-filtered ones, at a nest site. Even lights from cell phones can disturb the hatchlings if they are near the top of the nest. [Read more about your nightvision]
  • Heed instructions from patrol volunteers if you are fortunate enough to witness a nest emergence.
  • If you find a hatchling do not put it in the ocean. Place it in a bucket of moist sand, cover with a towel and call PVSTP immediately.
  • Buy a Sea Turtle Specialty tag for your vehicle.
  • Support PVSTP's efforts by making donations or adopting a nest.
FAQ on Sea Turtles:
  • When will the Sea Turtles hatch?  45-70 days after the nest is layed.  Please be cognisent of the above warnings that can affect hatchlings upon emergence.  Do not use white flash lights on the beach during the turtle season.  Especially if you witness a hatchling.  Please contact us for an amber sticker to go over your flahslight.  
  • We would love to see the Sea Turtles hatch?   As mentioned above, Sea Turtles hatchlings are disoriented from artificial white lights and can crawl into a roadway.  Please do not attempt to use a flashlight during an emergence unless your flashlight contains an amber shield.  
  • I found a baby Sea Turtle in the surf.  What do I do?  Please contact us.  We will advise you based on the specific circumstances.  
  • I love Sea Turtles.  Can I help with this effort?  Yes.  Please contact us if you wish to be included in our effort.  We especially need donations to pay for a new ATV every 3-4 years.  We receive no funding for our patrol requirement except for stakes and nesting tape.  We are a tax deductible organization.  
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