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Protecting Our Florida Marine Species

We love our Florida beaches and marine species, I’m sure just as much as you may.  Many Florida marine species that are endangered and threatened accommodate the local beaches as their home or as nesting grounds. Not only are these Florida marine species fighting to keep their nesting spots and homes from getting destroyed from us but they are also living in trash and litter from beach goers everyday. We love our Florida wildlife and want to do our best to keep these animals safe. Today only about 825 miles of Florida beaches are protected by the state. We wanted to help educate our visitors on what they can do to help and protect our beaches and Florida marine species. But first lets learn more about a couple of Florida’s most researched marine species.

Florida’s Sea Turtles

  • Florida has about 5 marine species of sea turtles that swim within our oceans and nest upon our beaches. They include the Hawksbill, Kemp’s Ridley, Loggerhead, Leatherback and the Green sea turtle.
  • All five species are protected under state statutes.
  • About 40-84 thousands nests are laid upon Florida beaches every year.
  • Only about 1 in 1,000 turtles survive to adulthood.
  • Sea turtles are born with the instinct to follow the brightest direction. On the beach the direction is toward the horizon.
  • Sea turtles average life span is 40-60 years but they can live longer.
  • Nesting months are mainly May-October with the exception of Loggerhead sea turtles.

The Florida Manatee

  • Approximate population of the Florida Manatee is 6,000 and have been placed from the endangered list to the threatened list due to their increasing population.
  • Manatees can be found in warm waters in bays, estuaries, coastal waterways and shallow rivers.
  • Calves are born at a whopping 60-70 pounds and measure up to 3-4 feet long.
  • Manatees breathe through their nostrils and their lungs measure 2/3 of the length of it body.
  • Manatees average weight is 3500 pounds
  • Although considered the cows of the sea, the closest related animal to the Manatee is the elephant
  • Biggest predator for Manatee is humans.

Helpful Tips on Protecting our Florida Marine Species

  • One of the biggest threats to sea turtles and many other Florida marine species is the indigestion of plastic bags, straws and other trash. Thousands of sea turtles die every year from eating or getting entangled in plastic bags and balloons floating in the water. They confuse trash with their most common food source which is the jellyfish. Picking up after your selves and other plays a huge role in the safety of these animals. Make sure to carry a garbage bag when going to the beach as well as pick up every single piece of trash.
  • Clean up your fishing line and or fishing nests. Line and nets end up entangling wildlife including sea turtles, birds, and many other Florida marine species.
  • Keep your lights off at night. Since sea turtles have the instinct to follow the brightest light beachfront lights and artificial lighting can confuse sea turtles from heading to the ocean. Next time you want to take a walk on the beach pick up a red flash light or yellow flashlight that will not disturb nesting sea turtles or hatch lings.
  • Never disturb a turtle crawling to or from the sea. You may watch from a distance but be sure to have your light turned off and no flashes on cameras as well.
  • Never touch a baby sea turtle. We hold many chemicals on our hands that could harm them.
  • Follow the rules on the water. When using a motorized water vessel be sure to respect the rules and speeds of the waterways. These rules are set in place to protect our marine life such as our Manatees.
  • Do not feed any of the wildlife. This could encourage them to approach  people in high traffic areas causing them harm and is also illegal.

What you can do if you see a marine animal violation?

To report marine mammal violations, such as people feeding, attempting to feed, or harassing marine mammals in the wild, please contact the national NOAA Fisheries Enforcement Hotline: 1-800-853-1964. Information may be left anonymously.

Experience Florida and All It Has to Offer

If you are intrigued with Florida’s marine species and beaches how about planning a visit to the gulf coast. Gulf Coast Vacation Rentals offers vacation homes near the local area beaches. Don’t spend your nights cramped in a hotel room when you could experience living in Florida. Not to mention all of the wildlife you could spot renting a golf course home,  lake view home or one minutes from the island. Let us help you plan your perfect vacation,  give us a call today.