Sea turtle nesting season begins in Collier County

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Beachgoers could play a significant role in keeping sea turtles safe on Southwest Florida beaches during nesting season.

Tuesday marked the start of the season — a time where turtle eggs can face a host of threats including raccoons, crabs, ants and even humans.

Beachgoers should keep device lights turned off from 9 p.m. until there’s sunlight. Collier County Principle Environmental Specialist Maura Kraus said light disorients hatchlings.

While a total of 18 hatchlings were impacted by light disorientation in 2017, sea turtles faced a greater hardship last season.

“[Hurricane] Irma wasn’t very good to us,” Kraus said. “They start hatching in July, so by September we had a few left on the beach … 281 nests were completely wiped out.”

Specialists are hoping to save as many turtles as possible this season and that means making sure everyone follows the rules.

Beachgoers are also asked to have all furniture off the beach by 9:30 p.m. so it doesn’t obstruct the turtle’s path.

For more information on how to protect sea turtles in Collier County, click here. 

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