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.
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.
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