We are well into our hatching season! We have inventoried 64.5% of our nests already.
At night when the hatchlings emerge from the sand they are headed to the brightest point, which on a naturally dark beach would be the horizon. Therefore they would all head in the direction of the ocean. However, other light sources can confuse the hatchlings causing them to disorientate or misorientate. This could drain them of their energy needed to swim to the Sargasso Sea or they could be predated as they are spending unnecessary time on land.
Disorientation is when a light source causes the hatchlings to meander and circle. A misorientation is when the hatchlings are led in the wrong direction. Below are a few examples.
This is something that can easily be avoided to save our hatchlings. Make sure house lights (or camper lights) are turned off at dusk! Also, if you happen to be walking the beach at night then only have red flash lights. NO WHITE LIGHTS! Even red lights can be so bright that they cause the hatchlings to be confused. If a nest has hatched and they are drawn towards your red light - turn it off and stay still to allow the hatchlings to re-orientate themselves and head into the water safely.
Please help us save our hatchlings by following the LIGHTS OUT rule!
Sea Turtle Biologist