If you are very lucky you might see a turtle nesting. Nesting turtles are best seen after dark, from November to March on the Gold Coast. If you spot turtles nesting please contact us and keep your distance.
During the nesting process, turtles are easily disturbed by light, noise and movement – especially when leaving the water, crossing the beach and digging the nest. Please ensure that you do not use bright torches to look for nesting turtles.
As the female turtle approaches the shore, she is very easily disturbed and might turn back. Keep clear of her, stand still, wait quietly and don’t shine a torch. Her crawl ashore and up the beach can take up to an hour.
To dig the body pit, she will use all four flippers to form a large hole. Once the pit is finished, she will use her hind flippers to dig out a vertical pear-shaped egg chamber about 60 cm deep. Even now the turtle is still easily disturbed so watch quietly from behind without lights and don’t touch her.
She will then cover her nest with her flippers. Stand clear of flying sand and give the turtle space to complete nesting. You can now turn on your lights to watch the turtle and take limited flash photos. Only use a low wattage torch.
As she crawls back to the ocean, keep your torches off as she can be disoriented by light. You can follow her quietly to the water as long as another turtle isn’t coming in to lay.
Hatchlings can be seen from mid-January until late March and usually leave their nests at night. If you are lucky enough to see hatchlings emerging from the nest please contact us ASAP. It is very important that you minimise the impact you have on the hatchlings and you can do this by following the guidelines below:
Keep clear of the nest when the hatchlings are emerging. If you are too close, you can push sand into the nest, making it harder for them to emerge from the nest
Keep your lights off! Torches and lamps can easily disorient hatchlings.
When the hatchlings successfully emerge from the nest they will race down to the ocean. Keep out of their way, don’t shine lights at them or use flash photography.
Don’t bring any pets. Pets could harm the hatchlings.
Don’t handle hatchlings! They are responding to many environmental cues as they cross the beach and if you interfere they may not remember how to return to the beach when they mature.
Completing this online induction is a fantastic start, but there are a number of things you can do right now to help to conserve local turtle populations:
Report sick, injured or ensnared turtles: Save these numbers in your phone!
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) on 1300 130 372
Sea World’s Marine Animal Rescue Team on 07 5588 2222 (9:00am to 5:00pm) or 07 5588 2177 (After Hours).
If you see a sick or injured sea turtle, contact one or both of the above organisations and the team will come to the aid of marine animals in trouble whether it is offshore or on Gold Coast beaches.
Join Watergum Seagrass: Help us to understand, monitor and protect critical turtle habitat.
Reduce your contribution to hazardous pollution: Research suggests that turtles living in urbanised coastal areas are being affected by run-off from the land. While it isn’t certain what effect pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and detergents have on turtles, it is worth being mindful that the chemicals we flush down our toilets, our down our drains and apply to our gardens can end up in our river systems and ultimately the ocean. Use environmentally friendly detergents and products at home, where possible, to reduce your impact.
Reduce Light Pollution: Artificial lighting confuses hatchlings and causes them to head in the wrong direction. If you live or work near the beach and your night-lighting can be seen from the beach, or if you park near a beach at night, turn off your lights, where possible. Dune re-vegetation programs aim to provide shade from light pollution and boost the survival-chances of turtle hatchlings, as well as repairing and preventing coastal erosion. You can contribute to this great work by supporting local initiatives and planting native vegetation to protect existing dune plans near your property. You can also design lighting to be wildlife friendly. Give turtles plenty of space if you see them on the beach. Don’t shine torches at them while they emerge from or move toward the ocean as this can significantly disrupt them and prevent them from laying their eggs or result in them being disoriented when they re-enter the ocean.
You can read more about dune revegetation for the better of turtles, Here.
Reduce Marine Debris: Do not litter anywhere. Most marine debris comes from inland; picked up by the wind and travelling down storm drains so it is important to prevent litter all around the Gold Coast. If you see litter, please pick it up if it is safe to do so. Come and join us in regular beach clean up events across the GC. We will also audit the litter to contribute to the Tangaroa Blue database.
Don’t buy turtle products: It is important not to purchase anything made from turtle shell whether at home or abroad. Even avoiding faux tortoise shell may assist in de-popularising this dangerous trend that is threatening the survival or all turtle species.
Enjoy Fishing & Boating Responsibly: Turtles can be seriously injured by boat props, fishing lures and fishing line, be mindful of your impact, use propeller guards on your watercraft & familiarise yourself with marine park zonation rules.