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There are seven species of sea turtles, and all are considered threatened or endangered. Loggerheads (Caretta caretta), and leatherbacks (Dermochelys coriacea) are the main two species that nest on Tybee and Little Tybee Islands.
These sea turtles need our beaches to be dark. Interfering with their activities, nests, or hatchlings is forbidden by Federal law. Items, sand structures, dug holes, tents, etc. left overnight on beaches are hazardous to humans as well as to nesting turtles.
- Keep bright lights off at the beaches or at homes facing the beach, as they can confuse hatchlings and prevent them from reaching the ocean.- Disturbing sea turtles, their nests, which are marked when found, or hatchlings is forbidden by Federal law. Do not tread on or near turtle nests. Do not touch or use flash photos around nesting adult turtles or hatchlings trying to make it to the sea.- Do not leave items - like tents or beach chairs, sand structures - like sand castles or sculptures, or holes on the beach. They may prevent successful nesting behaviors, leading to false crawls, or worse, endanger the health of turtles that have come to shore.
Turtle nesting season runs from May 1 through October 31. The first couple of months, volunteers patrol the beach just after dawn each morning, looking for turtle crawls and potential nests. This effort continues throughout the season. However, as the gestation period for a loggerhead is about two months, the marked off nests will be monitored and baby sat overnight to watch for the hatchling "boil" where all the baby turtles come up out of the sand and try to go to the sea.
You can follow the new and hatched nest news at https://www.facebook.com/pg/tybeeseaturtles.
Tybee resident and Tybee Island Marine Academy teacher Tammy Smith is also the Sea Turtle Project coordinator. She has recently appeared on GPB, talking about the turtle project efforts. Check out those videos at https://www.gpbnews.org/post/advocates-remind-beachgoers-make-way-turtles and at https://www.gpbnews.org/post/walk-beach-save-georgias-sea-turtles.