How You Can Help Sea Turtles
Whether or you live near areas where sea turtles are found, are just visiting, or appreciate them from afar, there's plenty you can do to help these wonderful animals.
On the Ground
Turn Out Lights Visible From the Beach
Sea turtle hatchlings use light and reflections from the moon to find their way to the water at night. Artificial lighting confuses the hatchlings and causes them to head inland instead of out to sea – putting them in dangerous situations which can lead to death. Artificial lights also discourage adult females from nesting on the beach. Short of turning off your lights, you can also take measures to shield, redirect and lower the intensity of the lights on your property.
Reduce the Amount of Garbage You Produce, and Clean Up Trash You See On the Beach
Sea turtles can become tangled in plastic and trash both on the shore and in the water. Discarded items such as fishing lines, balloons and plastic bags may also be confused for food and eaten by sea turtles, often resulting in injury or death.
Be Aware of Sea Turtle Nesting Areas and Avoid Nesting and Hatching Turtles
Sea turtles are cute, and therefore tempting to touch and observe – but flashlights and people disturb turtles when they are nesting, or trying to nest, on the beach. Make sure to give nesting areas plenty of space, and do not disturb females as they emerge from the ocean looking for a place to nest. Also be conscious of where nesting areas are so that you can avoid trampling the hatchlings as they head to the water.
Reduce the Amount of Chemicals You Use
The chemicals you use on your lawn and in your home can actually wash into the coastal waters – killing plants and animals. It is very important to properly dispose of toxic chemicals and, even better, find alternative products such as biodegradable solutions.
There are countless ways in which you can make a positive difference in the lives of sea turtles. Organize a clean-up day with your friends and clear the beach of litter, give a presentation to your neighborhood or local school on things they can do to save sea turtles, and most importantly, talk to others about what they can do to make sure they are not putting these important creatures in danger.
More Ways to Help
Adopt a Sea Turtle
A symbolic adoption helps save real animals in the wild.
Visit our Wildlife Action Center to send a message to government leaders.
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Size: Kemp's Ridley is the smallest sea turtle at 30 inches long (.762m). The largest sea turtle is the leatherback - an adult can reach over six and a half feet long (over 1.8m). Adult female and male sea turtles are the same size.
Weight: Kemp's Ridley weighs between 80-100lbs (36-45 kg). Leatherback can weigh over 2,000 pounds (over 907 kg)
Lifespan: Up to 80 years.