Escambia County Sea Turtle Patrol recorded Perdido Key’s first sea turtle nest this past weekend. This loggerhead is the first sea turtle nest on the county portion of Perdido Key, joining a handful of others already incubating in Perdido Key State Park and the Johnson Beach Unit of Gulf Islands National Seashore.
While nest counts are lower than usual across the region for this time of year, there is not major cause for concern. Female sea turtles typically take two to four years off from nesting to allow their bodies to recover the energy and fat stores needed to produce eggs. Nesting seasons are naturally cyclical, with above and below-average years.
Ahead of the busy Fourth of July holiday weekend, Escambia County also encourages residents on both islands to celebrate Clean Beaches Week, which runs July 1-7. Clean beaches free of debris and obstacles are vital for the success of all our coastal wildlife, including sea turtles.
Furniture, tents and toys left on the beach overnight create obstacles for nesting turtles and can injure or trap them on the beach. Food waste attracts predators and other debris can entangle turtles or cause serious illness if accidentally ingested.
Celebrate Clean Beaches Week and help protect nesting sea turtles in Escambia County by remembering:
- Leave No Trace! Remove all furniture and toys from the beach when you’re done for the day, including hammocks, tents, canopies, chairs, toys and sports equipment.
- Lights Out! Female turtles prefer dark, quiet beaches for nesting and hatchlings need dark skies 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.
- 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 Dig It, Fill It! Large holes are hazardous to both wildlife and people. Avoid digging large holes and fill in any holes, trenches or moats at the end of your visit.
If you encounter a nesting turtle, turn off all lights and retreat a safe distance away. Dead or injured sea turtles should be reported to Escambia County Marine Resources at (850) 426-1257 or the FWC Wildlife Alert line at 1-888-404-FWCC (3922). For more information about sea turtles in Escambia County visit www.myescambia.com/seaturtles or follow us on Facebook @ECNaturalResourcesManagement.
All sea turtle work performed by Escambia County was completed under Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Permit #032a.
If You Dig It, Fill It! Avoid digging large holes and fill in any holes, trenches or moats at the end of a beach visit.