Sunday, August 17, 2008

Effects of Artificial Lighting on Sea Turtle Hatchlings

Most sea turtles hatch at night. The baby turtles make their way to the ocean, attracted by the ocean waves and moonlight on the water. Since the hatchlings are attracted by bright lights, it is important that beach businesses and residents use specially designed lighting that does not confuse the turtles.

On a recent early morning beach walk, Jim captured some terrific photos of hatchling tracks that show how confusing life is to these little critters when artificial lighting interferes with their trip to the ocean. In this first photo, apparently there was visible artificial lighting nearby. You can just imagine the hatchlings emerging from their nest at night and trying to figure out how to get to the ocean based on a light source. Is it this way? No, it's this way. No, let's go this way! Poor babies!

In this photo, the last guy out of the nest had an easier time of it - it was early morning, daylight, and Jim says the hatchling headed for the ocean as fast as his little flippers would carry him.

If you have windows overlooking the beach, please be sure to pull your drapes at night. And of course, use the proper shielded fixtures for any exterior lights around your home or business. If you have any questions about the correct lighting, call Paula Berntson at the Brevard County Natural Resources Management Office, 321-633-2016, ext 52431 or email her at

(Photos by Jim Angy)

This story just in on Yahoo! about hatchlings wandering into an Italian restaurant!

1 comment:

Amanda said...

Poor little pumpkins need every break they can get! I hate watching the documentaries that show the birds snatching them up!