The non-profit Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring is reminding beach-goers to fill in any holes on the beach and leave sea turtles alone as they lay their eggs.
In a July 2 Facebook post, the non-profit said a large turtle was found stuck in a hole that was a quarter of a mile long. In the post, the non-profit says it appeared someone may have walked with the turtle when she fell in the hole.
"The message that we want to get across here: Do not walk with a turtle on the beach at night," a representative of the non-profit said in a video. "She's tender, she's pregnant, she needs to do her business and get back out to sea."
The representative then urges beach-goers to fill in any holes they create, for turtle and human safety.
"Even if it wasn't your hole, fill the hole back in."
According to the non-profit's website, there are five species of sea turtles that swim and feed around Anna Maria Island.
Sea turtle nesting season in Florida occurs from May to October, according to The Sea Turtle Conservancy.
STC offers the following tips to do your part to make keep turtles protected:
- Use sea turtle-friendly lights or no lights at all
- Knockdown sandcastles and fill in holes
- Avoid the attraction of unwanted pests
- Don’t interfere with the nesting or hatching process
- Don’t place beach furniture too close to a marked nest
- Don’t use fireworks on the beach
FWC says sea turtle hatchlings are lured to their deaths by the artificial lights on developed beaches. The brightness and glare leads them away from the sea. Beachfront properties can use sea turtle-friendly lighting, close blinds and drapes, and shield or turn off outdoor lights.