Only a lucky few have witnessed sea turtle hatchlings maladroitly waddle into the sea. It’s a remarkable experience, especially since sea turtles are an endangered species. However, these turtles have an arduous journey. Hatchlings innately pick up cues from the beach to navigate their way to the ocean. To avoid accidental contact with hatchlings on their journey toward the water, it’s optimal to stay clear of nests. In other words, don’t touch or handle them if you see them on the beach.

Only 1/1000 hatchlings survive until adulthood. Furthermore, climate change puts these floundering reptiles in especially precarious situations. Sand temperatures determine their sex. An average temperature of 86º yields an evenly split ratio of males to females. However, hatchlings incubating at higher temperatures inevitably become female. In contrast, lower temperatures yield only males. Additionally, while nesting, females traditionally only produce three to four eggs, they subsequently stop producing eggs for three years.

Nesting season is typically between March and October. If you see a sea turtle hatching event, it’s adventitious to do the following:

  1. Keep your distance
  2. Turn off any lights you are using
  3. Crouch down low
  4. Be quiet
  5. Stay behind or to the side of the hatchlings
  6. If the hatchlings head in the wrong direction, try and create natural barriers like piles of sand to encourage them to go the other way towards the ocean.

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