Every year, sea turtles make anywhere from 40,000 to 84,000 nests along Sunshine State coasts—with many of them being made right here in Ponce Inlet and Volusia County! Wildlife watching is one of the most popular things to do near Daytona Beach (especially from the comfort of a relaxing river cruise like The Manatee); but because baby sea turtles hatch and enter into the ocean by nightfall, this is one wildlife adventure you may not be able to see in real time. But don’t worry. We’ve got you covered with a closer look at how sea turtles make the leap from sea to beach and back again. Just read on to learn more.
A summer adventure
Sea turtle season, as it is aptly known here in the Sunshine State, runs from May through October. This summertime phenomenon sees sea turtles venturing ashore to lay their eggs, which incubate for about two months before making their first trek out to sea. As young turtles, they will enjoy hanging out among floating ocean seaweed, which serves as a protective shelter of sorts, before growing up and laying their own eggs one day!
Baby sea turtles, or hatchlings, will instinctively head to the brightest point (the open ocean horizon) upon hatching. They often do so under the guiding light of the moon—however, to keep them safe and avoid hatchlings venturing away from the ocean and into the streets, local beach dwellers, businesses and anyone who happens to be by the beach at night are required to restrict their nighttime light output. If you ever spot a sea turtle hatchling that seems to be in distress, feel free to give Beach Safety a call for them to take further action if needed. The best thing you can do at that point is help keep an eye on the turtle but avoid touching it or disturbing it—it may be completely fine, simply preparing to make its next steps (or shuffle) into the water!
Seeing sea turtles for yourself
Though sea turtle hatchlings are generally best left to their own devices, sometimes they need a little bit of help. The Marine Science Center in Ponce Inlet operates a one-of-a-kind Turtle Hospital to care for these beautiful creatures when they are injured or unable to make it into the ocean on their own. Give the Marine Science Center a call to see how you may be able to visit the Turtle Hospital, or check them out online! They can often be spotted helping release rehabilitated sea turtles in the ocean, a majestic, heartwarming sight you won’t want to miss.
We hope that today’s guide helps you understand the one-of-a-kind phenomenon that is sea turtle season in the Sunshine State! To continue your exploration of Florida’s flora and fauna, be sure to hop aboard a Manatee tour, where you can get closer to nature than ever before. We can’t wait to cruise with you soon.