ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. - Sea turtle season is in full swing and area experts are reminding coastal residents of rules aimed at protecting the animals.
Experts in St. Lucie County are reminding coastal residents to turn off lights on the beach overnight during sea turtle nesting season.
A spokesperson from the St. Lucie County Extension office says lights on or near the beach at night can disorient sea turtles, and in some cases lead to death.
Each county has rules for nighttime lights. In St. Lucie County, these rules apply from sunset to sunrise from March 1 through Nov. 15:
Residents area advised to follow the following rules:
-Turn off exterior lights which are visible from the beach.
- Turn off exterior lights which illuminate areas between the primary dune and the water.
- Shield lights which illuminate walkways and beach access points so they are not visible from the beach.
- Prevent interior lights from illuminating the beach by using drapes, shades or window tint.
- Turn off any unnecessary interior lights which shine toward the beach.
According to experts in St. Lucie County, sea turtle populations are threatened and endangered. Sea turtles normally hatch at night. Their instincts are to crawl toward the moonlit ocean, but can be confused by bright artificial lights.
When hatchlings don’t reach the ocean they can become dehydrated, preyed on, or end up in swimming pools and pedestrian pathways.