When you move to Amelia Island, or maybe when you’re just visiting to find your dream home, you might notice evidence of interesting visitors on Fernandina Beach. Every year, thousands of sea turtle nests crop up followed by baby sea turtles. While it’s important to watch from a distance and give these sea turtles their space, it can be an exciting sight for any kids in your family, or even for adults who aren’t used to the Florida coast.
Types of Sea Turtles
There are many different species of sea turtles that nest along the Florida coast, and they can live as long as 40-60 years. Some, like leatherback sea turtles, can become as large as 1,300 pounds. You may find green, leatherback, hawksbill, Kemp’s Ridley, or loggerhead sea turtles, but loggerheads are most common in this area. Loggerheads have reddish brown shells and yellow underbellies, but they’re named for their sturdy mouth and head. Their jaws are in fact so strong that they easily break through mollusk and crustacean shells to get to their food.
Now here’s the interesting part. Every year from May through October, loggerhead sea turtles come to the shores of Fernandina Beach to lay their nests. Each turtle can lay up to four different clutches of over 100 eggs each. Then the mothers go back to the water and within days, the hatchlings arrive. Sea turtles have a natural instinct to move towards light, which is what leads them to make their way to the ocean almost immediately. There they’ll join the older sea turtles of their species and next year, the process starts all over.
In Amelia Island, this is quite a local phenomenon. Both visitors and locals flock to the beach, hoping to get a glance of sea turtle hatchlings or grown sea turtles laying their nests. Unfortunately, seeing either of these things is exceptionally rare. However, during the Amelia Island Sea Turtle Watch, volunteers will excavate egg shards or unhatched eggs, an event that’s open to the public. Experts can tell you all about the nest itself and interesting facts about the sea turtles. You may even see live hatchlings at this time if you’re lucky.
Protections for Sea Turtles
Most breeds of sea turtles are considered endangered, and loggerhead sea turtles are themselves threatened. Because of this, locals and visitors are told to watch for nesting from a distance and take care to clean up the beach. If you have a house along the beach, turn off all lights at night and use LED flashlights when on the beach at night. Clean up all food and drinks before you leave. If you built sandcastles, make sure you level them before leaving. If you dug a hole, make sure you fill it. Litter and uneven sand can be dangerous for baby sea turtles. A clean flat beach is the best way to help them get to the water.
Want a chance to see the sea turtles for yourself, or at least evidence that they were here, year after year? Consider searching for your dream home in Amelia Island. To learn more about their expertise or how they can help you buy or sell your home, contact The Barclay Team today.