Sea turtle nesting season taking shape in PCB

Published: Jun. 4, 2023 at 10:17 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Panama City Beach Turtle Watch surveyors report six Loggerhead sea turtle nests are in the area.

They say it takes around 60 days for an egg to hatch. The hatchlings then move as quickly as they can to the water. PCB Turtle Watch Lead Surveyor Nancy Evou said females lay their eggs about two feet deep in the sand.

The nests are protected by federal and state laws. So, you could find yourself behind bars if you meddle with them.

However, the public is urged to call local law enforcement if an egg is lying on the sand.

“[Sea turtles] are sensitive to lighting,” Evou said. “So, if you are lucky and see a female coming out of the water, it’s best to stay about 30 feet away. No flashlights, no flash photography, and call local law enforcement immediately so we can get down here to protect the turtle.”

NewsChannel 7 was told sea turtles tend to lay their eggs at night. Storms impact the number of eggs that hatch each year.

PCB Turtle Watch surveyors also say around one out of every 1,000 hatchlings will make it to adulthood.

However, you can make a difference.

“We can only help them from man-made issues,” Evou said. “It’s what we do, so we just try to educate. Whether you’re on a boat, don’t throw your trash overboard. You know, put it in a container. If you’re on the beach, pick up after yourself. Remove all of your personal belongings.”

The nesting season began May 1. Evou said the hatching season normally starts the end of July and runs through the first week of November.

You can learn more about PCB Turtle Watch and its initiatives by clicking on this link.