A baby loggerhead turtle (source: Wikimedia Commons)
Every year from early March through the end of October, Brevard County becomes the home of hundreds of nesting sea turtles. Green, leatherback and loggerhead turtles emerge from the waves of the Atlantic Ocean and converge upon Space Coast beaches. They dig deep to lay more than 100 eggs at a time (called a clutch). They return numerous times to lay more clutches throughout the season. After 45 to 70 days, hatchlings make a mad dash for the ocean — but usually only at night.
Beginning May 1, bright lights, cameras, flashes and most artificial lighting is prohibited on most local beaches due to the nesting and hatching season. Artificial lighting discourages mother turtles from nesting, and it distracts hatchlings from completing their first journey across the sand to the sea.
A baby green turtle (source: Wikimedia Commons)
There are more than 300 miles of shoreline in Brevard when the shores of the Indian River, Banana River and Mosquito Lagoons are included. Three main organizations that work to ensure every nesting season is clean and safe for our marine friends in Brevard County — Sea Turtle Preservation Society, Friends of Sebastian Inlet Park and Barrier Island Sanctuary. All three offer guided Sea Turtle Walks to the public throughout the nesting season. Volunteers are specially trained during the spring to help identify nesting areas and guide visitors on the turtle walks.
Peak nesting season is in June and July, and there are numerous places in Brevard where you can witness this feat of nature. On a turtle walk, you could walk up to several miles. You may want to wear long pants and long sleeves, definitely bring bug repellent and wear comfortable walking shoes.
A rare daylight hatching
Turtle walk reservations are strongly recommended as the walks are very popular, and usually only small groups can be guided at a time. Each organization's reservation schedule differs, but most begin taking reservations in May for walks in June and July. Give us a call if you plan to visit Brevard during the nesting season, and we can provide you some resources and recommendations for your trip, including additional information about turtle walks. Believe us, it's like nothing you've ever experienced before.
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