The Florida marine turtle nesting season is from May to October each year.
There are seven species of sea turtles including the green turtle, hawksbill, leatherback, loggerhead, olive ridley, Kemp’s ridley and flatback. All but the olive ridley and flatback are found in Florida. Females nest every two or three years during the summer when they crawl to the shore to dig a nest in the sand using their rear fins. The female deposits about 100 eggs the size of ping pong balls in the nest. She covers the eggs with sand when she's finished and returns to the ocean. Male sea turtles never return to the shore after hatching. Only 1 in 1,000 hatchlings will survive to adulthood.
There are simple steps everyone can take to help protect marine turtles such as:
- Not leaving objects on the beach overnight (refer to the City's Leave No Trace ordinance here)
- Knocking down sand castles and filling in holes before leaving the beach
- Placing all trash and recyclables in the proper containers
- Drawing the curtains at night to keep light from being seen from the beach
- Shielding all exterior lighting, using the least amount of lighting necessary, keeping lights low to the ground, and using long-wavelength (amber) bulbs. If you live or stay within view of the Gulf, be sure to turn off the lights inside your house when you leave and keep your curtains drawn when you are home. Also, make sure any exterior lights visible from the beach are turtle compliant. Do not use flashlights or cellphones on the beach at night. Learn more about proper lighting by referring to the City's Coastal Lighting Standards.
- Have questions about turtle lighting standards? The city of Treasure Island is here to help. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) keeps an updated list of best management practices for marine turtle lighting.
Call the FWC Wildlife Alert number at 1-888-404-FWCC (3922) to report:
- Stranded hatchlings
- Harassment of sea turtles
- Disturbance of nests
- Entangled sea turtles
- Disoriented hatchlings
- Dead or injured sea turtles or hatchlings
If you observe a property with improper lighting, please report it to the City's Code Enforcement staff at (727) 547-4575.
Public sea turtle walks
If you want to watch a nesting sea turtle, join an organized sea turtle walk that has been approved by the FWC Imperiled Species Management Section. Permitted walks are usually offered from May through July each year. The turtle walk leaders are trained to aid the public in watching sea turtles without disturbing them during nesting. For a list of organized walks in Florida, please call (850) 922-4330 or (561) 575-5407. An online list is also available at MyFWC.com.