Sea Turtle Season in Florida From May 1 through October 31, the area beaches host an unusual marine visitor – the sea turtle. These magnificent animals emerge from the surf at night to lay their eggs in nests dug into the dry sand, then return to the sea.
The Sea Turtle Conservancy group even offers volunteer adventures that may include the opportunity to watch them being released or take a guided walk to witness a sea turtle laying her eggs in the Archie Carr Refuge. Hatching season on the Caribbean coast is between July and October, and again from March to May.
Outside the tropics, hatchlings generally emerge throughout the summer and early fall. In the southeastern USA, hatchlings emerge throughout the months of June, July, August, September, and October. It is a myth that hatchlings emerge only around the time of the full moon.
How long does it take before the eggs hatch? Sea turtle eggs have an incubation period of about two months.
Where to See (and Help) Sea Turtles in the U.S. Padre Island National Seashore, Texas. Laniakea Beach, Hawaii. John D. Jekyll Island, Georgia. Topsail Beach, North Carolina. Long Beach, California. Hunting Island State Park, South Carolina. Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland.
Watching a baby turtle (known as a “hatchling”) struggle out of the nest and make its way to the water is an emotional experience.
Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica Just 80km north of Port of Limon, on the palm-lined Caribbean coast, this is one of the most important nesting sites in the western hemisphere. Here, giant leatherback, hawksbill and loggerhead turtles all find roost.
The majority of nesting in Florida occurs between May 1st and October 31st. About 90% of all sea turtle nesting in the United States takes place on Florida’s beaches, which means it is critical that residents and visitors alike do their part to ensure that sea turtles have a safe and successful nesting season.
Finding the Nest A track is an impression of a single flipper. Long lines of tracks showing an animal’s movement and behavior are called trails. Scientists measure the width of a sea turtle’s track, called the straddle, as well as note the crawl pattern of each species to tell what kind of turtle laid a nest.
A completed hole is flask shaped and is roughly 12 cm deep with enough room to lay and bury the eggs. The female will dig with her front legs and back legs, and will also use her back legs to position the eggs after they have been laid.
Sea turtles are protected by federal and state laws that forbid taking, possessing, disturbing, mutilating, destroying, selling and harassing all types of sea turtles, their nests and their eggs. People aren’t supposed to touch sea turtles — even hatchlings trying to reach the ocean in the aftermath of a hurricane.
Solar, lunar and tidal cycles are believed to influence leatherback nesting activities because the turtles generally nest above the high tide line (Kamel & Mrosovsky 2004), so emerging when tides are at their highest will minimise the distance and duration of crawls.
They can lay hundreds of eggs in a nesting season—thousands in a lifetime! Among species, scientists have determined that turtles lay their eggs in the same time and place but not necessarily returning year after year.
After baby loggerhead turtles hatch, they wait until dark and then dart from their sandy nests to the open ocean. A decade or so later they return to spend their teenage years near those same beaches.
How many eggs do sea turtles lay at one time? In a single nesting season, females lay between two and six clutches of eggs, each containing 65 to 180 eggs. The clutches are laid approximately every two weeks, and the period between female nesting season ranges from one to nine years.