Sea turtle nesting season just around the corner in the Panhandle

Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 8:07 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Temperatures are warming, and that means sea turtles will soon be returning to the beaches of Northwest Florida to lay eggs.

Sea turtle nesting season lasts from the beginning of May to the end of October across the Panhandle. As the Emerald Coast has seen significant numbers of tourists recently, there are some concerns as to how that will impact the turtles.

A sea turtle needs a beach that is flat and clear of debris in order to make a nest. In addition, turtles lay their eggs and make nests at night, and the increased number of tourists could result in more trash and light on the beach at night. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has been preparing for the return of the turtles, and wants to specifically get the word out about one potential hazard to turtles that people often leave behind.

“You know when kids are out there during the day digging their holes and building sandcastles, that’s fine,” said Bekah Nelson, spokesperson for the FWC. “But we want to make sure at the end of the day that all of those holes are covered in because as a sea turtle comes to shore or those hatchlings try to make their way to the water they can get stuck in those holes that are left. So it’s very important to fill those back in at the end of the day as well.”

Keeping beaches clean, clear and dark is essential for successful turtle nesting.

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