Fact Sheet
Sea Turtles
Sea Turtle, © Christina Albright-Mundy

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.

Take Action

Visit our Wildlife Action Center to send a message to government leaders.

Speak Up for Wildlife

Learn how you can be a powerful advocate for wildlife.

Stay Informed

Sign up to receive instant alerts and updates about important issues affecting wildlife.

Become a Defender of Wildlife

Your Defenders membership includes our quarterly publication with fascinating articles and stunning photos of wild animals in their natural habitats.

More on Sea Turtles: Learn More »

You may also be interested in:

alligator, © Dolores Rose
Fact Sheet
The American alligator is the largest reptile in North America. It has a large, dark (usually black), slightly rounded body and thick limbs. Unlike the crocodile, the alligator has a broad head.
Sea Turtle, © Christina Albright-Mundy
In the Magazine
The dead and stranded sea turtles began washing up on Gulf Coast beaches last year. There were so many that the National Marine Fisheries Service investigated, finding both the BP Gulf oil disaster and shrimp trawling were likely to blame.
In the Magazine
Sautéed, buttered, battered, fried. The ways to serve up shrimp are virtually countless. But a recent study suggests that sustainable may no longer be on the menu.