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Baby sea turtle
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Nesting turtles are taking over Florida’s empty beaches

Virginia Gil
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Virginia Gil
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Manatees aren’t the only Florida wildlife thriving during the lockdown. Thanks to hundreds of miles of empty coastline, the state’s sea turtles are also prospering.

March through October is nesting season for loggerheads along the central and southeast coast of the peninsula, as hundreds of mother turtles crawl ashore and lay their eggs in the sand. The roughly 60 days it takes eggs to incubate and hatch is critical to their survival—and when they’re most at risk for human interference.

That’s all changed now that Florida’s beaches are vacant. Less crowded shorelines mean lower chances of nesting areas getting inadvertently trampled or pollution threatening their environment. An increase in nests from this time last year has also been reported by the Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach.

It’s still too early in the season to tell whether the favorable conditions will result in more hatchlings, but the future does look promising for Florida’s baby turtles, in part because the beaches are darker at night these days. "The thousands of hatchlings that would normally be disoriented by the artificial lights might make it to the sea this year," said David Godfrey, executive director of the Sea Turtle Conservancy, speaking with The Guardian. 

Hatchlings instinctually crawl to the brightest point, which, should be the sea. The longer the beaches stay closed, the greater the chances these little guys will survive. 

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