Alabama’s Gulf Coast is home to lots of beautiful wildlife, but sea turtles top the list of our area’s most majestic. Unfortunately, they are also an extremely vulnerable species. You can help preserve the species by knowing the facts and observing a few simple rules.
Facts About Sea Turtles:
Here’s what you need to know about this unique member of the animal kingdom:
- Alabama is home to three different sea turtle species: the loggerhead, Kemp’s Ridley, and green sea turtles.
- Sea turtles enjoy protection under the Endangered Species Act, which means it’s unlawful to disturb hatchlings, nests, or adults.
- Sea turtles are among the world’s most ancient species; they’ve been on the earth for an estimated 200 million years!
- Females lay around 100 eggs at a time, but only a few of these will actually make it to adulthood.
- Hatchlings find their way to the ocean by following the moonlight. Because of this, light pollution may confuse young turtles.
- Sea turtle nesting season lasts through October 31.
- An adult loggerhead turtle can grow to be almost 350 pounds, but when they’re born they only weigh a few ounces.
How You Can Help
With some help from you, sea turtles can thrive. To help preserve this majestic species:
- Don’t use flashlights at the beach at night. This may confuse the baby turtles away from the ocean.
- Turn off your patio lights at nighttime during nesting season, and pull down your shades to minimize light pollution.
- Don’t touch or otherwise disturb sea turtle nests, even if they’re empty.
- Pick up all your trash before leaving the beach for the day.
- Consider getting involved in a community organization that’s dedicated to saving the sea turtles. For example, there are programs where you can sponsor a nest or participate in community beach cleanups.
- Educate others about the sea turtle population and tell them how they can help by taking these preventive steps.
There are several ways that we as a community can help save the sea turtles. As a prospective or current homeowner of a waterfront property on the Gulf Coast, you have a special responsibility to do your part. Be sure your guests heed all of these rules and pick up after themselves at the end of the day. Together, we can help restore the sea turtle population. Share these facts with friends and family to spread the word and create a community-wide effort.