Hurricane Irma probably dug up some sea turtle nests and you definitely shouldn't touch them

Thursday, 14 September 2017, 04:27:45 AM. Wildlife officials warn the well-meaning to call in the experts when facing a sea turtle or nest in distress
People who want to help sea turtle nests battered by Hurricane Irma should leave the eggs and hatchlings alone, wildlife officials say. Instead, call the experts, because good intentions don’t necessarily make for good results. Sea turtle nests on Florida’s beaches are facing dangerous coastal flooding in the wake of Hurricane Irma, which has been downgraded to a tropical storm as it whirls toward Georgia. But well-meaning humans are sometimes bigger threats than they realize. Remember the bison calf in Yellowstone that tourists tried to “rescue” from the cold by putting it in their car? The calf’s herd rejected it after rangers tried to reintroduce it, and the calf was ultimately euthanized. That’s why Fish and Wildlife officials warn that even if receding flood waters leave sea turtle eggs exposed, the concerned public should leave them alone: sea turtles will weather the storm. Five species of endangered sea turtles lay their eggs on Florida’s beaches between March and October. The females drop 100 or so golf ball-sized eggs into a hole in the sand, then abandon the nest to swim back out to sea. The eggs incubate for about two months before the tiny hatchlings emerge and shuffle en masse to the water — navigating by light. (Artificial lights can mess with turtle navigation systems.) If a storm hits during nesting season, many of the unhatched eggs could be washed out of their nest and scattered. Nests that are temporarily submerged may still be okay, however, since female...Read more
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