South Walton Sea Turtle Watch Foundation www.southwaltonturtlewatch.org
How You Can Help!

Always use a red light emitting flashlight on the beach, these are available on the Internet and show a picture,
I think I have sent you pictures of the ones I know about.

Keep lights that can be seen from beach turned off
Fill in your holes and smooth out your sandcastles for the night
Take your “stuff” off the beach when you leave
Put your trash in the trash bins provided
Report any seen sea turtle activity to the Walton County Sheriff

About Us

The South Walton Turtle Watch is a group of volunteers whose purpose is to locate endangered and threatened sea turtle nests and to protect them along the beaches of NW Florida during the crucial nesting and hatching season. By law, Only certified members are allowed  to interact with endangered sea turtles.

“We, as sea turtle volunteers, go through many hours of training so that we may help these wonderful sea turtles. We are learning more each year. That is why we can get a sea turtle permit which allows us to help endangered and threatened animals.”  -Sharon Maxwell

Sea turtles are protected by the Endangered Species Act and only those with special permits are allowed to touch the nests, turtles, or hatchlings. There is a $2,500.00 reward for information leading to the conviction of violators. To report a violation, contact a State, Federal, or local law enforcement officer.

Check out Beach Talk!

See what happens when Tanya the land turtle, who stays on land most of her life, and Tami the Sea Turtle meet. See Tami’s flippers? Tanya has feet that are better for walking. Tami doesn’t walk, she swims. When she nests, she pulls herself by her flippers. Only female, sea turtles ever come ashore, out of the sea, and then only to nest. Where people play is where sea turtles must nest. Also Tanya can draw her head and feet into her shell for protection and Tami can not. Tami is also much bigger and can swim and dive better. Read Beach Talk!

Sea Turtle Info

Female Sea Turtles that were born on the white sandy beaches always come back to nest on white sandy beaches. The beaches are white because they are primarily made up of quartz with very little or no shell deposits in them. When you walk on this sand, it sings to you or squeaks. This is a treat. The sea turtles’ tracks on this sand show up differently than on other darker sand beaches. Because the sun reflects off this white sand the sand does not get as hot as darker beaches, this fact also effects sea turtles. The number of days it takes for the eggs to hatch are longer than on darker beaches and because the temperature of the sand effects the sex of the hatchlings, this means that these white sandy beaches produce more male sea turtle hatchlings. The fact that the ones hatched on these beaches come back makes it our duty to protect these wonderful creatures in any way we can. The Loggerhead sea turtle that has hatched on these white sandy beaches is a sub population of the worlds Loggerheads and there are not many left. Sea turtles as a group have been on our earth since Dinosaur time.

SEASON: MAY 1st UNTIL OCTOBER 31st

Sea Turtles have long called this white sand beach their home. Females return every two years to nest. These animals deserve our respect and consideration. Share the beach by leaving it clean of debris, no chairs, tents, umbrellas, fences and no holes or hills of sand that could obstruct her path to a safe nesting site. In late summer and early fall when the hatchlings begin to emerge, turn off lights near the beach that may disorientate the turtles’ crawl to the surf. Walton County has ordinances in place to protect these threatened and endangered species: Turtle Lighting and Leave No Trace.

The Green Sea Turtle and Loggerhead are the two most common species that nest on the beaches in our watch area.

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This picture of the track (“crawl”) left in the sand shows that a Loggerhead sea turtle came ashore to nest and bumped into obstacles left by people who don’t know any better.

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This is where Walton County, FL is located!

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Here is a better view of our coast!

Sea Turtle Videos

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GreenSea Turtle

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Loggerhead Turtle

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URGENT
When you see a sea turtle on the beach or a sea turtle in harms way please call South Walton Turtle Watch 897-5228 or Walton County Sheriff 267-2000

This turtle was released by the well meaning public with hooks still in it and will die, it should have been taken to help.

The women involved called me today and wanted me to know that some folks on the beach wanted to call someone but the fishermen there were under the opinion that if you cut the line the fishhook then would dissolve.  This is not true, they may rust away but that takes time and the hook can do a lot of damage to the turtle while waiting for this to happen.  Also the fishing line gets wrapped around different parts of the turtle some in it’s mouth.  This in itself can kill the sea turtle, I have taken fishing line off a turtle when it was wrapped around it’s neck and also around it’s flippers and can’t swim.  So just cutting the line is not enough.  If you have caught a sea turtle you must bring it to shore and call the proper people to get the turtle the medical help it needs.  Don’t just cut the line and let it become the problem for the turtle, when it is your hook and line.

Save the Turtles!

YOU CAN DO YOUR PART: Always use a red filter or red light emitting flashlight on our beaches!

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