If you happen to be a New Smyrna Beach resident or visitor, you may be privy to the fact that one of the things we are very passionate about is protecting our sea turtles. It is important to know that nesting season starts May 1st and runs through October 31st because we do things a little differently around that time.
Here’s the good news. Hundreds of sea turtles will emerge from the sea to nest and lay their eggs on our beautiful beaches. After about two months, all the tiny sea turtle hatchlings will break free of their shells and begin making their way to their new ocean home.
Here’s the scary part. In the ocean, sea turtles can be eaten by all sorts of sea creatures, but, before those little guys even make it that far, they are vulnerable to a bunch of dangers on land. Animals that find them yummy include birds, crabs, raccoons, armadillos and dogs. Holes and trash can also hamper their journey, as well as artificial light, which can prevent adult sea turtles from nesting and disorient baby sea turtles on their harrowing trek to the sea.
So, as residents and visitors of this magnificent oasis we share with our wildlife brethren, we have a few sayings we always abide by, “Leave no footprint behind and let the night provide the light.” Basically meaning that we respect the beach by leaving it as clean as we found it, and we don’t shine lights (from our homes, our cars, flashlights, phones or anything else) on the beach during sea turtle nesting season. We are also careful not to disrupt the sea turtles by touching or disturbing their nests, and we don’t disturb the dunes or sea plants.