Beach visitors must be wary of sea turtles
If you head to a beach this spring, look out for nesting sea turtles, which lay their eggs through April.
These creatures have been around for more than 100 million years, and they are making a comeback thanks to conservation laws. But their survival remains threatened by human interference and development.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission asks visitors to keep their distance from turtles such as the leatherback, which has been seen in Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin counties. A sea turtle digs a nest in the soft sand, deposits up to 100 eggs about the size of a pingpong ball, covers them with sand and heads back to the sea.
Eggs typically incubate for 45-60 days, and hatchlings emerge on beaches through the fall. People can help increase the hatchlings' odds for survival by turning off or shielding outdoor lights that face the water. Hatchlings can become disoriented by them and head away from the water, where they can fall prey to raccoons.
Loggerhead, green turtle and leatherback nest regularly along the state's shoreline. But two other species, the hawksbill and Kemp's ridley, occasionally visit. All five species are federally protected.
If you see a nest being tampered with, a sea turtle being harassed or an injured or dead turtle, call the FWC toll-free at 1-888-404-3922 or *FWC or #FWC on your cell phone. You also can text Tip@MyFWC.com.
For more information on sea turtles, go to myfwc.com/seaturtle.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recently announced four fishing days — all Saturdays — during which licenses won't be required: April 7 (freshwater), June 2 (saltwater), June 9 (freshwater) and Sept. 1 (saltwater).
Instead of providing one weekend for freshwater fishing and one for saltwater fishing like years past, the FWC spread out the days.
For more information, go to myfwc.com/license.
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Send your news and notes to outdoors editor Terry Tomalin via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (727) 893-8808.