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Welcome to the Florida Keys Turtle Cam!

UPDATE: The Nest Has Hatched!

Friday, July 25 the loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings made their way from the nest to the ocean's edge just before 9 PM.

Friday, July 25, about 100, 3-inch-long loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings made their way from the nest to the ocean's edge just before 9 p.m. (ET)

Using infrared lighting, a live-streaming, high-definition "turtle webcam" positioned on a beach in the Florida Keys recorded the hatch.

The camera uses infrared lighting so hatchlings won't be confused by artificial light and will go to sea - guided by moonlight reflecting on the water -- instead of pushing further onto land.

The webcam is part of ongoing efforts in the Florida Keys to raise awareness of sea turtles and the need to protect them.

Loggerhead, green, leatherback, hawksbill and Kemp's ridley sea turtles nest on beaches in the Florida Keys and other parts of Florida, or inhabit Florida and Keys waters. All five species are considered either threatened or endangered.

From mid-April through October each year, these turtles crawl ashore at night to dig their nests and lay eggs. A female turtle typically lays about 100 eggs and covers them with sand before returning to the water, leaving the nest alone.

Approximately two months later, the hatchlings struggle free of the nest and rush toward the sea, guided by moonlight reflecting off open water.

Any artificial light, including flashlights and flash cameras, can disturb and disorient the turtles, interrupting the natural process. Laws prohibit people from touching or disturbing hatchlings, nests and nesting turtles.

 

On September 1, 2009, a video of a loggerhead sea turtle nest hatching was recorded just before 9 p.m. Click below to see the babies emerge. Personnel from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission placed a metal grid over the nest to help prevent raccoons from burrowing before eggs hatch. However, turtle hatchlings were still able to get out to crawl to the ocean.

Images of a Turtle Nest Excavation



Permitted beach surveyors excavated and found 84 eggs in the nest. A live hatchling was discovered and released.
(Click to enlarge)


A live hatchling makes his way to the sea.
(Click to enlarge)


After a few breaths of air, the hatchling dipped beneath the surface and paddled to sea.
(Click to enlarge)

Conducted and Collected by Save-A-Turtle Under FWC MTP-09-079


A Kemp's ridley sea turtle.
Photo courtesy of Fish & Wildlife Commission


Green sea turtle hatchlings make their way to the sea.
Photo courtesy of Save-A-Turtle

Florida Keys Organizations Raise Awareness About Turtles

All marine turtle footage taken in Florida was obtained with the approval of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) under conditions not harmful to this or other turtles.