Female loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta), a threatened species, come ashore nightly during the summer months to nest along the Gulf of Mexico beaches of St. Vincent NWR. The most common of Florida’s five marine turtle species, the loggerhead turtle can weigh up to 200-300 lbs. Current threats to marine turtles in northwest Florida include artificial beach lighting which can disorient adult and hatchling sea turtles.
With the help of tireless volunteers, the Refuge conducts morning surveys from May-August to document marine turtle nests along the Gulf beaches. Nests are screened with small wire cages to protect the eggs from depredation by wild pigs, coyotes, or raccoons. In approximately two months, hatchling sea turtles emerge unaided and make their way to the warm Gulf waters.