They are females in their mid-20’s, returning after years away from Perdido Key The ones with a green shell and a taste for seaweed. They are here on business, and just might need your help. “They” are Loggerhead sea turtles. Nesting season has arrived, and residents go mad for a chance to see the baby turtles hatch every year. We also shell out for the Kemp's Ridley, Green, and Leatherback turtles that also stop by Perdido Key from May 1st through October 31st.
Despite the attraction, it’s best to leave these vulnerable creatures alone. Your best bet is to join a sanctioned conservation event that you will read about here. Remember, all seven species of sea turtles are classified as threatened or endangered.
The Spanish explorers called a mass sea turtle nesting event an “arribada.” It means "great arrival." The nesting season starts in the Florida Keys with an early March sun. The turtles follow the subtropical spring northward until they make landfall here in May.
Did you know that the sand temperature at incubation determines the sex of a sea turtle? It’s a rare environmental catalyst that is shared only by crocodiles and alligators. Places like the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center (NBSTCC) help to ensure the survival of more hatchlings every year. It’s daunting task.
The plucky hatchlings are the real stars, but baby Loggerheads are pretty ‘green.’ They have poor eyesight, soft shells, and undeveloped sea legs. Potential predators abound. Foxes are a common culprit, but the biggest danger to the turtles are man-made. Long-term impacts are caused by land development, beach erosion, pollution, and netting. It’s important to leave only our footprints in the sand.
Eden is a Hotspot
Eden sits at the heart of Perdido Key, just west of the Perdido Key State Park, and across the road from undeveloped dune habitats. This is prime sea turtle country.
"They are residents, too," says resident Ashley Houghton. "Their shell is undeveloped, so we have to become their invisible shell."
In 2017, nearly 100 turtles hatched in the daytime. In 2019, Divers spotted and filmed two large Green sea turtles in 2019 just off the shore at Eden. The large female turtles were tagged and even seemed to smile as they curiously met the divers face to face.
Call to Action
How can you help the sea turtles during the nesting season? The NBSTC has some tips and guidelines for everyone on their website. You can join conservation events like trash cleanups, lights out events, and attend annual events like the Navarre Paddle Classic and the Sea Turtle Baby Shower at Pensacola Beach. You can find out more on the NBSTCC website and www.VisitPerdidoKey.com. See you on the sand!
There's so much to do on and around our 16-miles-long island paradise, there's no way you can experience it all in just one stay. To help you make the most of your Eden vacation, we've picked a few of our favorite experiences that we hope will become precious memories for you too. If you have a question, or don't see what you're looking for, please let us know. We want to make sure that each memory of your Eden vacation is truly magical.