Daytona Beach, FL - Sea turtle hatchlings are beginning their journey to the ocean on Volusia County beaches. Ryan Chabot, Volusia County Sea Turtle Habitat Conservation Plan Program Manager, said that it's actually the peak of the season right now. "We have many nests emerging each day. Hatchlings spend a couple of days making their way to the surface, then wait for the sand to get cooler. Folks are taking their early morning beach walk, they may see this funnel shape going to the water of really tiny hatchling tracks."
Chabot says there are typically 70 to 100 hatchlings per nest and so far this year, there are 760. Close to 300 of those are already empty. The breakdown of what type of sea turtles have made their nests on our beaches is: five Leatherbacks, one Kemps Ridley, and about 60 green sea turtle nests, who Chabot says are late nesters so there could be a few more. The rest of the nests, close to 700, belong to loggerhead turtles.
Kemp Ridley turtles don't make nests on many east Florida coast beaches but Volusia County usually sees one every year. Chabot said the ones that have been observed over the last few years in Volusia County have been here more than once.
There are ways you can help the hatchlings make it safely to the ocean. Chabot said for night-time beachgoers to never point a bright light at them. It can confuse them and make them go the wrong way. For everyone, when you head home from the beach, leave it as you found it. Pick up your trash, knock down sandcastles and fill up holes, no matter how shallow.