Sea Turtle Nesting Season begins May 1 through October 31. All seven species of sea turtles are either endangered or threatened. The loggerhead is the most common sea turtle found in Pinellas County.
The Nesting Process
- Female sea turtles come ashore in the dark, dig a hole using their rear flippers, and lay 100 to 150 eggs at a time.
- During a season, a single female lays three to eight nests. After a 45- to 70-day gestation period, hatchlings emerge from the nest at night and follow the moonlight reflecting off the Gulf of Mexico.
- Only about one in a thousand hatchlings makes it to adulthood, which is why it’s important to make sure they have the best chance to nest, hatch and return safely to the ocean.
- In 2019, Pinellas County marked a record high of 669 sea turtle nests!
Do Not Disturb Sea Turtles or Hatchlings
- Do not harass or touch any sea turtles.
- From May 1 through October 31, limit light that is visible from the beach and use only long wavelength.
- If you come across a sea turtle in need of help, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) at (888) 404-3922 or Clearwater Marine Aquarium at (727) 441-1790, extension 1.
- To report fishing violations and injured or dead marine mammals and sea turtles, please contact the FWC at (888) 404-3922.
Sea turtles can become disoriented from lights and illuminated objects visible from the beach. Most importantly, bright lights disorient hatchlings by attracting them inland where they often die of dehydration, predation or are run over by motor vehicles. It is very important that occupants and managers of beachfront properties minimize the amount of light that shines onto the beach.
You can help!
- Turn off lights visible from the beach after sunset.
- Use an FWC-approved amber light if you need to use light near the beach.
- Pick up your trash and cover any holes to give hatchlings the best path to the ocean.
- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has additional information about turtle-friendly beach lighting.