Sea Turtles are one of the most iconic animals in the ocean. They are fun to watch come to shore and also swim down the coast! Not to mention, they are some of the most photogenic animals in the sea! The emerald waters of the Gulf Coast are home to a variety of species of sea turtles. Some types of sea turtles that nest along the beaches in Destin are actually endangered, these endangered species include green sea turtles, kemps ridley sea turtles, and loggerhead sea turtles. These miraculous animals can live up to 100 years old! We love sharing our beaches with these beautiful creatures and need to be respectful of their nature.
With our love for these amazing creatures, we want to make sure that we protect them. Momma sea turtles make their way onto our beaches to lay their eggs near the dunes. A small percentage of these hatchlings survive, so we want to give them the best chance possible!
Here are ways you can help protect our sea turtles.
Leave the beaches clean. We all love our long relaxing days on the stunning white beaches in Destin but let's make sure to leave them the way we found them! Make sure to grab all of your beach gear when leaving, remove all of your trash and even maybe some leftover trash that was not yours. Certain plastics like bags and balloons can be deadly to sea turtles. They often mistake them as jellyfish and eat them, causing them to get very sick. If you have dug holes for a sandcastle or beach gear, be sure to fill them in and flatten the sand before leaving. Holes and obstacles can be quite confusing and harmful to sea turtles as they attempt to lay their eggs. Hatchlings often fall victim to holes on the beach as well. If you are walking the beach at night or searching for crabs, be sure to use red lights if possible instead of bright flashlights or the flash on your camera. These bright flashes can be distracting to hatchlings and mislead them. Sea turtles use the moon to guide them back to the water, so lights can often disorient them.
Sea Turtle Nesting Season
Sea turtle nesting season begins in May on the Florida panhandle. Be sure to keep an eye out for marked areas and take the precautions stated above. All property owners or renters are encouraged to keep beachfront lights off or as dim as possible during this time of year at night. Even small lights can deter momma sea turtles and hatchlings off course.