It's Sea Turtle nesting Season on Tybee Island!
If your travel plans include a trip to our fantastic island this year, we want to let you in on why it's so important for turn your “Lights out on Tybee.” You see, Tybee Island, Georgia is a nesting place for three different species of Sea Turtles! Sea turtle nesting season begins on May 1st and lasts through the summer until the end of October. Sea turtles typically lay between 80-120 ping-pong sized eggs, which incubate for 55-60 days.
We love our turtles here on Tybee Island! We work hard to educate the public and our visitors about the importance of our sea life including our turtles and share our knowledge of how you can help to save them amazing creatures as well. The Tybee Island Marine Science Center's mission is to cultivate a responsible stewardship of coastal Georgia’s natural resources through education, conservation, and research. They have been helping Tybee to fight for these amazing creatures and preserving their lives, one turtle at a time.
During these months, adult turtles return to their place of birth to lay eggs. The egg nests are protected on our beaches while we await the baby hatchlings to appear. Once the nest begins to “boil” (that is an actual term used to describe a sea turtle nest hatching), the baby sea turtles naturally return to the sea. This is a remarkable moment to witness the hundreds of babies crawling to the seashore. They are drawn to the sea by the natural light of the moon reflecting over the ocean.
The objective of the Lights Out! program is to facilitate sea turtle nesting activity by reducing artificial light shining on the beach during nesting season. When unnatural light from city lights and homes on the beach and condo communities illuminate the beach, the hatchlings are misled, and are in danger of not surviving the journey, or going toward the light, which will not lead them to the sea.
***If you see a dead or injured turtle or anyone harassing a sea turtle, call the Georgia Department of Natural Resources at 1-800-2-SAVE-ME. (If the sea turtle is tagged, include the tag color and number in the report if possible.) Or, call the Tybee Island Marine Science Center – 912.786.5917***
Fun Sea Turtle Facts:
• Sea turtles are amazing creatures who have near perfect sight in water but out of the water, their vision is limited.
• They have an amazing sense of smell.
• Females are usually the only ones that come on land, the males rarely do.
• Unlike land turtles, they cannot pull in their heads and flippers for protection so they are more vulnerable to enemies and human inventions like boats and nets.
• Females lay eggs every other year and always return to where they were hatched themselves.
• Sea turtles do not have teeth but rather they have "beaks" to help them catch their prey or grab seaweed.
• All sea turtles are endangered or critically endangered all over the world.
• Sea turtles are the live representatives of a group of reptiles that have existed on Earth and traveled our seas for the last 100 million years