The Do’s and Don’ts of Sea Turtle Protection

The Do’s and Don’ts of Sea Turtle Protection

If you know us at Shelly Cove, then you know we LOVE the beach. From the salt air to the warm sand to the amazing animals that call it home. 

For these creatures, the beach is more than a fun place to hang out, it’s where life happens—and for the Sea Turtle, the beach is where it all begins!   

FUN FACT: Did you know that Nesting Season is about to be in full swing?

Yes! From mid-April through August, Sea Turtles of all shapes and sizes will be sliding up the sand to pick the perfect location to lay eggs. 

They’re pretty picky. Some species will only lay eggs on a single beach. Around 90% of all Sea Turtles choose to nest on the coast of Florida. (We don’t blame them.) 

Isn’t it cool that year after year these turtles will always find their home beach? It’s like they have built-in GPS. 

Unfortunately, nursery shopping isn’t what it used to be.

Sea Turtles are finding it more and more difficult to safely lay eggs. And hatchlings are facing rougher terrain between them and the ocean. 

Sea Turtles all have natural predators, but actually the biggest threat to nests are beach-goers.

So if you want to help make a difference this summer—and still have a great time at the beach—here’s are some key DO’s and definitely DONT’s to make your next vacation 10/10 for turtles.  

If you Like Fun in the Sun : 

DO wear sunscreen. Even better, wear Turtle Safe sunscreen that doesn’t leak harsh chemicals into their habitat. 

DO take lots of pictures to share with your friends (Maybe in a Shelly Cove shirt? 😉)

DO Build your dream home sandcastle. Add a two seahorse garage. 

DON’T leave big, unfilled holes or piles of sand. Turtle babies need a clear path to make it to their ocean home.

When we leave our creations on the beach, the babies can get stuck in holes and around sandcastles, making them targets for predators. 

DON’T Leave trash like wrappers, cans, or other plastic products. It looks harmless, but turtles can’t always tell the difference between their favorite snack—jellyfish—and the plastic baggie you left.

Only 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 10,000 eggs will hatch turtles that make it to adulthood. By cleaning up your litter, you’re giving them a fighting chance to survive!

If You like Night Walks on the Beach :

DO  Find safety in numbers. Bring a friend, and always let someone else know when you’re out to explore nature. 

DO Watch out for nocturnal critters that share the beach with you. You’re doing your thing. They’re doing theirs. Rad. 

DO Enjoy the sound of the waves and the twinkling stars. Maybe see a falling star?!

DON’T shine bright lights! Okay, it’s tempting to bring lots of lights for a beach walk or crab hunt. 

But choose your light carefully. Flashlights, phone lights, even beachfront house lights can confuse turtles. Hatchlings might scramble in the wrong direction, and Mama turtles will avoid beaches with too many lights. 

DO opt for softer lights if you really need them. Some stores sell special turtle lights specifically for protecting them during nesting season. 

DON’T frequent areas known for Sea Turtle nesting. It’s tempting to find a real life turtle nest, but if you love them, leave them! (It’s actually against the law to touch or disturb nesting sea turtles, hatchlings, or their nests.)

You can find signs that point out potential nests or look online for the usual nesting ground in your area. 

If you Vacay with Furry Friends :

DO give them exercise! DO give them treats! 

DON’T let them roam too far off-leash. A curious dog or cats can do serious damage to a delicate turtle nest. 

DON’T feed other animals you find. Wild animals come back to areas where people feed them and sometimes choose a Sea Turtle snack instead. 

If You Love Turtles :

DON’T hug them. They appreciate the thought, but would probably bite you. 

DON’T carry them to the ocean. 

If you spot babies on their way across the beach, the kindest thing you can do is let them figure it out. It makes them stronger, smarter, and the journey helps them remember their home beach—so that they can come back one day! 

DO learn about them! Scientists and ecologists are still learning about these amazing, complex creatures. 

DO advocate for safer beaches and cleaner habitats for all animals. And DO find out how you can help with conservation efforts in your area. 🐢

If you keep these tips in mind, not only can you still have a lot of beach fun, you’ll be helping hundreds of baby turtles find their way home.

And really, what’s better than that? :)