Newsletter: May 2nd, 2024

Delray Sea Turtle Season Is Here: What You Need To Know

With the cooler winter air waning, one of our favorite seasons has begun in Delray. No, not the annual migration of snowbirds out of Delray, but rather “Sea Turtle Nesting Season”.

Sea Turtle season began March 1st and runs through October 31st, with most of the nesting occurring in May, June & July.

The most common Sea Turtle species that make their way to Delray’s beaches in order of numbers each year are Loggerheads, Leatherbacks, and Green Sea Turtles. Much rarer, but still no stranger to Delray’s beaches are the Hawksbill and Kemp’s Ridley species.

Some interesting facts about the Sea Turtles who nest on our beaches

Sea Turtles nest almost exclusively at night to reduce the risk of predation and to avoid the heat of the sun, which can be detrimental to their eggs.

Generally, Sea Turtles come ashore during high tide as the high tide provides access to higher nesting areas closer to the dunes, easier navigation, and natural camouflage.

Full Moon cycles attract more nesting activity as the brightness of the full moon provides better visibility for the turtles both on land and in the water.

The number of eggs laid by a sea turtle in a nest can vary depending on the species, the individual turtle's size and health, and other factors. However, on average, sea turtles lay between 50 to 200 eggs per nest. Leatherback sea turtles tend to lay fewer eggs, typically around 80, while loggerhead and green sea turtles may lay closer to 100 to 200 eggs per nest.

Sea turtle eggs typically hatch at night, although the exact timing can vary depending on factors such as species, temperature, and other environmental conditions. Hatching usually occurs during the cooler hours of the night, when the sand temperature is lower, and the risk of predation is reduced.

Many sea turtle species exhibit a behavior known as natal homing, where they return to the beach where they hatched to lay their own eggs as adults. This remarkable navigation ability is thought to be guided by a combination of magnetic fields, ocean currents, and possibly even visual and olfactory cues.

Humans of course, can create situations that may adversely affect the nesting habits and safety of our Sea Turtles. Here are some Sea Turtle do’s and don’ts.


Keep your distance: Maintain a respectful distance from nesting sea turtles and hatchlings. Stay at least 10 feet away and avoid disturbing them.

Use red or dim light: If observing nesting turtles at night, use red or dim lights, as bright lights can disorient and disturb them. Red light is less likely to disturb their natural behavior.

Fill in holes: If you dig holes or build sandcastles on the beach, fill them in before leaving. These obstacles can impede nesting turtles and hatchlings.


Don't approach or touch nesting turtles: Avoid approaching nesting turtles or touching them, as this can disturb their nesting process and may cause them to abandon their nesting attempt.

Don't use flashlights or flash photography: Bright lights and flash photography can disorient nesting turtles and deter them from nesting. Use red or dim lights instead.

Don't disturb nests: Avoid disturbing sea turtle nests or digging into them. Even slight disturbances can damage or destroy eggs and reduce hatchling survival rates.

Don't leave trash or beach furniture: Remove all trash and beach furniture from the beach at the end of the day. Items left on the beach can obstruct nesting turtles and hatchlings.

Don't interfere with hatchlings: If you encounter hatchlings emerging from a nest, resist the urge to pick them up or interfere with their journey to the ocean. Let them make their way to the water on their own.

The city of Delray Beach takes a very active role in the protection of our nesting turtles and nestlings. Delray has a comprehensive Sea Turtle Guide along with an informative video about the city’s Sea Turtle Conservation Plan.

The city info can be found by clicking:

Best Regards,

The Friends Of Delray Board

Judy Mollica - President

Steve English - Treasurer

Gregg Weiss - Secretary

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