Nests are maked with four stakes connected with orange ribbon and yellow caution tape. An informational sign identifies the area as a turtle nest, and a green tag has the sequential nest number. Volunteers check the nests twice nightly for signs of hatchling emergence, beginning at incubation day 50. Any disoriented hatchlings are collected and released on a dark beach. Turtle Watch used to place wire cages over nests to prevent hatchlings from crawling toward lights from beachfront development. Hatchlings instinctively crawl toward the brightest light when emerging from their nests at night. On a natural beach, this behavior takes them to the water, illuminated by moon- and starlight. Condo and motel lights can lead turtles in the wrong direction on our developed beach. Caging has been discontinued as beachfront development converts to “turtle-friendly” lighting, allowing most hatchlings to make their way to the gulf without human assistance.
See a turtle or tracks on Panama City Beach?
Call 888-404-3922 (24-hr hotline)