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Watch for Sea Turtle Hatchlings, Nesting Season Underway

Beach residents should make sure to keep lights off or dimmed during sea turtle nesting season, which is May 1 through Oct. 31.

Pinellas County beaches experienced one of the most successful sea turtle nesting seasons in the last decade in 2012.

Volunteers with the Clearwater Marine Aquarium documented 196 nests even though Tropical Storm Debby wreaked havoc along the coastline.

There usually can be up to 120 nests made along beaches in the Tampa Bay area, with each nest having up to 110 eggs.

This year, the sea turtle nesting season began on Wendesday, May 1.

Because hatchlings find their way to the water following natural light reflected onto the water, residents and businesses near the beach should make sure to shut off or dim lights at night through Oct. 31.

This can reduce the amount of artificial light and help the newly hatched turtles safely reach the water.

About 100 volunteers monitor Pinellas beaches during the sea turtle nesting season. Nests are staked off and later watched as the hatchlings make their way to the water by moonlight.

If you find a turtle nest on the beach don’t disturb it. If it is unmarked, call the Clearwater Marine Aquarium at 727-441-1790.

Check loggerhead nesting sites here.

Turtle nesting over the last decade:

  • 2012-196
  • 2011-89
  • 2010-119
  • 2009-138
  • 2008-108
  • 2007-38
  • 2006-115
  • 2005-105
  • 2004-104
  • 2003*-195
  • 2002-170

*previous record season

Related coverage:

  • Debby Doesn't Curtail Records Setting Turtle Nesting Season
  • Sea Turtle Nests Nearly Wiped Out by Debby
  • First Sea Turtle Nest of Season Hatches in Wake of Debby

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