Protecting the Turtles

DATE: June 27, 2019

Curious about why turning your lights out at night is such an important task? Or maybe why removing any furniture on the beach is necessary?

It’s sea turtle nesting season!

Sanibel is currently in the middle of a very busy sea turtle nesting season, which lasts from April until about August. In fact, the island currently has over 350 nests! With so many turtles scoping out Sanibel’s beautiful beaches to lay their eggs, it is crucial for us to make them as turtle-friendly as possible. Not just the nesting females, but their hatchlings, too, face many difficulties to and from the ocean; such as predation, pollution, and the list goes on.

Something easy we can do to help is preventing the turtles from becoming disoriented. Disorientation events occur when artificial lighting on sea turtle nesting beaches disrupts the ability of nesting females and hatchlings to find the sea from the beach. Adult and hatchling sea turtles have an inborn tendency to move in the brightest direction, so turning off unnecessary lighting sources helps them go in the right direction! Another easy thing to help out our friendly neighbors is by simply packing up all your belongings when you head home for the day. By leaving out chairs or other types of furniture items, turtles can become stranded when either trying to nest, or when hatchlings are trying to navigate to the ocean. Little actions like these make a big difference in the lives of these amazing animals!

Info & header photo provided by Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation

turtle nests sanibel island

More ways you can help protect our beloved sea turtles:

Say No to Plastic Straws

Single-use plastics are the main culprit for ocean pollution. Unfortunately, plastic straws can cause a lot of issues for all marine life and this is the primary reason Sundial has stopped using single-use plastic straws. Rather than using a plastic straw, opt for reusable or biodegradable ones instead. Metal and bamboo straws are affordable and eco-friendly. They lessen the waste that ends up in the ocean, and in turn prevent turtles from becoming extinct. Reusable straws can be found at most major retail stores.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Everyone has heard of the three Rs. But these three words are a crucial component in helping to protect the turtle’s habitats. In order to reduce the amount of single-use plastics that float into the ocean, bring your own grocery bags to reduce the amount of grocery bags used. To reuse, buy refillable water bottles, preferably ones made from recycled or biodegradable materials. Lastly, recycle whenever possible to ensure that your old plastic materials are used to decrease the creation of new plastic. Just becoming a bit more conscious of your habits could help save a turtle on Sanibel and around the world.

Look but Don’t Touch

If you happen to see a small turtle roaming along the beach, please refrain from touching the turtle. In many instances, germs between humans and turtles are easily transferable and can make either party very sick. It is best to leave the turtle to happily journey along.

We are all looking forward to the rest of turtle season and watching as a new generation of sea turtles begins their journey!

If you’re interested in helping protect the turtles on Sanibel Island, you can adopt a section of the beach! We’ve adopted the beach in front of Sundial and you can adopt your very own stretch, too. Just visit: SCCF.org.