Turtle disorientations higher than usual


Turtle disorientations higher than usual


Date: July 15, 2013
by: Robin Hartill | City Editor


Mote Marine Laboratory scientists have documented 23 disorientations in adult female sea turtles this year on local beaches.

The number is higher than usual, with 12 female disorientations documented in 2010, 15 in 2011 and 10 in 2012.

Disorientations occur when adult females veer away from their expected movement patterns on the beach because of artificial lighting from waterfront properties, beachgoers coming too close (especially while carrying flashlights) and natural predators, such as raccoons. Hatchlings can also become disoriented.

This year, a female turtle wedged its head under a rock groin and needed help digging out after disorienting; in a previous year, a turtle was struck by a car after wandering into the road.

To help turtles avoid disorientation, beachgoers should remain quiet if they encounter a nesting turtle, shield or turn off outdoor lights that are visible from the beach from May through October, close drapes after dark, put beach furniture far back from the water, fill in holes on the beach and put trash in its proper place.

Contact Robin Hartill at rhartill@yourobserver.com.


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Currently 1 Response

  • 1.
  • I think this is getting rather absurd - could the problem not be a result of beach erosion and there being very little beach for anyone, including, humans to enjoy. As for the building lights, as I recall, don't turtles head towards the direction of the moon? And do I not recall the moon being in an easterly direction during the late spring? Also, the "turtle patrol" walks or rides along the beach straining to see light from the interiors of the oceanfront buildings; they seem to forget that the turtles are crawling on the sand and their necks are probably not more than a inch or two high - it would be impossible for them to peer over the dunes and see the lights from the buildings that far away. I think we are taking this turtle issue to the extreme. Pretty soon, our beaches will be closed to everyone during turtle season.
  • Gail E. Jordan
    Tue 16th Jul 2013
    at 5:01pm
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