SAND AND SEA
OUR SEA TURTLES
disoriented nests,” Bergman adds. “The hatchlings come up
and they walk in the wrong direction because of artificial
lighting. They get stuck in the dunes; they spend more time
on the beach; and they use up all of their energy. When disoriented,
they’re more likely to get predated on by animals or
they walk into a road.”
If a hatchling successfully makes it to the ocean, it continues
to face many dangers to survive. It must avoid predators
like birds and large fish that could easily consume it. Swimming
through mountainous waves is no small feat for a tiny
hatchling, as well. It must struggle to overcome and swim
beyond the pounding surf.
After several attempts, the baby turtle goes into a swimming
frenzy. Using the energy from its yolk sac, it swims
until it reaches the sargassum weed line. Here it takes refuge
finding food to eat and shelter from predators.
“They’re going to spend close to a decade maturing and
foraging in that weed line,” Maline says. “We refer to this
time period as the lost years because we don’t know a lot
about that life stage. While they live in these sargassum
SEA TURTLE WALKS
Organizations permitted by the Florida Fish & Wildlife
Conservation Commission to conduct sea turtle walks:
Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge
Sebastian Inlet State Park
Disney Beach Resort at Vero Beach
Florida Power & Light Company
Inwater Research Group Inc.
Ecological Associates Inc.
Environmental Studies Center
Florida Oceanographic Society
Hobe Sound Nature Center
To survive, a sea turtle hatchling must swim for miles
offshore until it reaches the sargassum weed line.
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