Every year from May 1 to October 31 is designated Turtle Nesting Season on Sanibel Island! This is an awesome time of year where we all can enjoy the magic of nature as female sea turtles come ashore by night and lay their nest of eggs. We have a great responsibility in ensuring that they are able to do this per their rules. Lights out is so important as they won’t lay their eggs at all until they find a dark quiet place. We must turn out our lights on the beaches so that they find this place. And then once the hatchlings emerge from their sandy nest they need darkness so that the Gulf waters attract them their way to the sea. If they follow an artificial light off the beach they will perish. Help us to help them! It’s as easy as turning off a lamp.
Here are some helpful tips from the city for all of us to use:
- Turn off or shield lights near the beaches. Artificial beach lighting can inhibit female sea turtles from nesting and disorient hatchlings. Most beachfront lighting issues can be addressed by turning off all unnecessary lights, repositioning or modifying light fixtures, or closing blinds and drapes.
- Remove furniture and other items from the beach and dune area, when not in use, between the hours of 9:00 P.M. and 7:00 A.M. Items left on the beach including beach furniture, toys and trash may provide barriers to nesting or result in entanglement and predation of hatchlings.
- Level all sandcastles and fill any holes dug during play. These are fine during the day but may pose additional hazards at night. Please leave the beach as you found it, so that sea turtles and hatchlings are not hindered on their way to nest or to the water.
- Pick up all trash. Sea turtles mistakenly eat debris, especially plastic, which results in death.
- Honor the leash law. All dogs on the beach must be on a leash and not allowed to disturb nesting turtles or hatchlings.