During the months of May to October, you may find a few surprise guests on the beach. Gulf Shores & Orange Beach are fortunate to be nesting grounds for several types of endangered sea turtles. We ask that you help us Share The Beach with these delicate sea creatures.
Female sea turtles return to the beach they were hatched to lay up to 100 eggs per nest. In 55 to 75 days, the hatchlings will emerge from their shells and the sand to make the perilous journey to the water. From 2003 to 2011, it is estimated that more than 28,000 hatchlings safely entered into the water on the Alabama Gulf Coast.
How can you help ensure our tiny friends make their journey undisturbed? Here are a few tips on being turtle friendly:
- Avoid using flashlights or flash photography on the beach at night.
- Turn off outside patio lights and shield indoor lights from shining onto the beach at night. Hatchling sea turtles find their way to the Gulf waters by moonlight or starlight. Building lights along the shore may confuse the hatchlings, drawing them away from the water.
- Do not disturb sea turtle nests.
- Leave sea turtle tracks undisturbed.
- Do not leave trash, beach chairs, umbrellas or tents on the beach.
- Adopt a nest!
Remember, sea turtles are protected by the Endangered Species Act, and it is unlawful to disturb nesting sea turtles, hatchlings or their nest. However, they do provide an awesome sight to see when the baby sea turtles begin erupting from the sand. If you are lucky enough to see this, be sure to stay back and not disturb the process.