Pensacola Beach Sea Turtles:
Pensacola Beach, Fl is known for its beautiful white sand beaches and crystal clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It’s also known for the sea turtles that call this area home. Sea turtles are a vital part of the ecosystem in Pensacola Beach, and their presence is an indicator of the health of the environment. In this article, we’ll explore the different species of sea turtles found in Pensacola Beach and their importance in the ecosystem.
Sea Turtle Species Local to Pensacola Beach, Fl:
Loggerhead sea turtles:
Loggerheads are the most commonly seen sea turtle in the area. They are named for their large head and powerful jaws. The loggerhead sea turtle can grow up to 3 feet (1 meter) in length and can weigh up to 250 pounds (113 kg). They have a distinctive large head and powerful jaws that are used to crush their prey, which mainly consists of crustaceans such as crabs and lobsters.
Green sea turtles:
Green sea turtles are less common than loggerheads in Pensacola Beach, but they can still be spotted in the area. They are named for the green color of their fat, which is caused by the algae they eat. Green sea turtles can grow up to 5 feet (1.5 meters) in length and can weigh up to 700 pounds (317 kg). They have a heart-shaped shell and a small head.
Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles:
Kemp’s Ridleys are the smallest and most endangered sea turtle species in the world. They are rarely seen in Pensacola Beach, but they do occasionally visit the area. Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles have a distinctive heart-shaped shell and can grow up to 2 feet (60 cm) in length and weigh up to 100 pounds (45 kg). They have a rounded head with a hooked beak and are carnivores, feeding on crabs, jellyfish, and other small marine animals.
Hawksbill sea turtles:
Hawksbills are another rare species of sea turtle that can sometimes be seen in Pensacola Beach. They are named for their narrow, pointed beak. Hawksbill sea turtles have a flattened body, a distinctive pointed beak, and a carapace (shell) with overlapping scutes that form a serrated edge. They can grow up to 3 feet (90 cm) in length and weigh up to 150 pounds (68 kg). Hawksbill sea turtles are omnivorous, feeding on sponges, jellyfish, and other invertebrates, as well as algae and seagrasses.
Leatherback sea turtles:
Leatherbacks are the largest species of sea turtle and are found in the open ocean around Pensacola Beach. They are named for their leathery, flexible shell, which is covered in small, hard plates. Leatherback sea turtles can grow up to 8 feet (2.4 meters) in length and can weigh up to 2,000 pounds (900 kg), making them the largest of all sea turtles. Leatherback sea turtles are carnivores, feeding primarily on jellyfish.
Sea Turtles one of the few animals that eat sea grass, which helps to maintain healthy seagrass beds. These beds provide a habitat for marine animals, such as fish and crustaceans. Sea turtles also help control the jellyfish population, which can be a nuisance to swimmers.
Sea Turtle Nesting Season on Pensacola Beach, FL:
If you’re visiting Pensacola Beach during sea turtle nesting season, which runs from May to October, you may have the opportunity to see sea turtles nesting on the beach. It’s important to remember that sea turtles are a protected species, and it’s illegal to disturb their nests or to approach them while they are nesting.
Unfortunately, sea turtles are facing many threats.
Threats include pollution, entanglement in fishing gear, and ingestion of marine debris.
To help protect sea turtles in Pensacola Beach, there are several conservation efforts in place. The Gulf Islands National Seashore, which encompasses the Pensacola Beach area, has a sea turtle monitoring program. This program works to monitor sea turtle nesting activity and to protect nesting sites. The program also works to educate the public about sea turtle conservation and the importance of protecting their habitat.
What to do if you spot a sea turtle in danger:
If you see a sea turtle or hatchling that is sick, injured, in distress or deceased, please call the local authorities and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission 24-hour hotline at 888-404-3922.
-Tyler Fay, Website Business Manager