PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — It’s been a bit of an unusual sea turtle hatching in Panama City Beach this year.
An active tropical season during August and September either washed away or flooded turtle nest, or buried them under too much sand.
A drier October and November helped the hatchlings get back on track. but Panama City Beach Fire Rescue says nest hatching in November is actually very odd.
Beach Safety Rescue Responder, Chaylie Cook said, “We’ve had a lot of cold bouts very early on in the year that delayed the incubation process for the baby turtles, so a lot of the nests were not hatching when they were supposed to. So the turtle watch would come through and dig out these nests and see if there are any surviving turtles and if there are, they’ll take them back to Gulf World or to their homes and they’ll incubate them and keep them warm until they are ready to go out.”
When baby sea turtles hatch this late in the year, the water is colder near the shoreline. It makes it harder for the hatchlings to make it out to deeper, warmer waters. Beach safety rescue responders are taking the baby sea turtles on their boards, past strong currents and cold water, in order to give them a better chance at survival.
Cook explained that the worst thing you can do when spotting a straggling hatchling is put it straight back in the water,
“There was a reason that that turtle washed back, or that that turtle didn’t make it out on its own, so it probably needs to be incubated a little bit longer or it needs to be warmed back up and get its energy levels back up before it can go out.”
Although its been an abnormally long season, Cook mentioned that it’s been fun for her to be hands on with the baby sea turtles.