Ponce Inlet, FL – Rough surf from TS Julia has made a tough ride for some baby sea turtles here. Beach Safety reports more than 100 wash backs over the past 24 hours.
Those turtles are now being cared for by the Marine Science Center. They will be released when the weather conditions and the condition of those turtles allows.
The baby turtles have come from both Volusia and Flagler County.
Melissa Ranly, Manager of the Turtle Hospital at MSC, has some tips for anyone who sees these washbacks on the beach. “Everyone’s instinct is they want to help and they think that any animal that comes from the water needs to go back in the water. But these ones are different than a normal hatchling that might be making it’s way to the water for the first time. These, if you put them back in, they’re really not going to survive.”
The best thing to do is to call MSC, Beach Safety, or the FWC. If you see a Beach Safety officer on the beach they know what to do, and volunteer groups are on the beach now too. According to Ranly, if you spot a wash back and there’s no beach safety nearby but you know where one is, you can bring the wash back to them. “But you don’t want to put them in any water, maybe just some moist sand or like a damp towel… but not in water because if they’re that weak they can actually drown.”
Ranly also wants people to know that there are tons of the baby sea turtles at MSC right now. There’s also an adult female loggerhead there that weighs close to 280 lbs. So if you’re interested in sea turtles, this is a great time to visit MSC.
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