Home Environment Pensacola’s First Sea Turtle Hatches of the Season

Pensacola’s First Sea Turtle Hatches of the Season

Escambia County is pleased to celebrate the first sea turtle hatches of the season on both Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key Tuesday, Aug. 1. Aided by the full moon, over 160 loggerhead hatchlings safely made their way to Gulf of Mexico.

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This is the first of two nests on Perdido Key and the first of 13 on Pensacola Beach. While local numbers are lower than expected, the region overall is having a strong nesting year. A higher number of green and Kemp’s ridley nests are being reported alongside the more common loggerhead.

The full moon contributed to a near perfect hatch, as it guided hatchlings directly to the Gulf without disorientation by artificial light. Hatchlings use the reflected light of the moon and stars off the water to orient themselves toward the Gulf. However, even the dimmest of artificial lights can outshine these natural lights. 60% of all hatchlings on county beaches will be disoriented by artificial light sources, making them easy targets for predators. Hatchlings that don’t reach the water quickly are also at higher risk of starvation, dehydration and death.

Every hatchling counts! Help protect hatchling turtles by remembering:

  • Lights Out! Both hatchlings and nesting turtles need dark beaches to find the Gulf of Mexico. Leave the flashlights and cell phones at home or use a red flashlight when on the beach at night. Turn off beach-facing lights and close windows and curtains to keep our beaches dark.
  • Leave Only Footprints! Keep our beaches flat and clean for turtles by removing all personal belongings at the end of each day, flattening sand castles and filling in holes!
  • Stow It, Don’t Throw it! Trash and food waste can entangle turtles and other wildlife and attract unwanted predators. Always dispose of trash in the proper receptacle and refrain from feeding wildlife.

If you see a nest hatching or encounter hatchlings turtles on the beach, stay a respectful distance away and call Escambia County Marine Resources at (850) 426-1257.

For more information about sea turtles in Escambia County, visit MyEscambia.com/seaturtles. All sea turtle work performed by Escambia County was completed under Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission permit #032 and #202.