Loggerhead Sea Turtles on Florida’s Forgotten Coast
By Forgotten Coast Web Team | June 27, 2022
What do sea turtles and summer visitors to Franklin County have in common? They both migrate to the beach each summer!
Beginning in May, female sea turtles worldwide began an annual migration to beaches across the globe to lay their fragile eggs at night near the dune lines. In Franklin County, the Loggerhead sea turtle is the primary species to nest along local beaches. A threatened species, the Loggerhead turtle, often swims hundreds of miles foraging for food before it migrates to the shoreline to nest before lumbering back down to the water’s edge to begin another year’s journey. The turtles will lay their eggs from May to August, with hopefully 50-120 baby turtles hatching after 45-60 days in July through October, usually at night. One female may nest several times in a season.
Early summer heralds the season when local volunteer turtlers begin walking the beach to find, mark and protect turtle nests. When homeowners and visitors are educated about measures, they can help nesting sea turtles, such as turning off lights, clearing the beach of gear, and filling holes.
Are you interested in learning more? Beginning this month on June 7, staff at the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve in Eastpoint will host local “Turtle Talks” each Tuesday from 2-3 pm. These weekly talks help visitors learn all about our nesting sea turtles. The talks are free, and registration is not required; however, seating is limited. Visitors interested in learning about sea turtle nesting can visit the St. George Island Visitor’s Center (at the St. George Island Lighthouse Park) to pick up turtle information.
Please note that Franklin County has a Leave No Trace ordinance that requires chairs, umbrellas, and equipment to be removed nightly from the public beaches to help mama turtles navigate the beaches to nest and allow hatchlings a clear path back to the water from their nests in the dunes. And, if you dig a hole on the beach during the day, fill it in!