Every year, Gulf Shores, Alabama, hosts thousands of sea turtles who lay their eggs along its beaches. Guests flock to the city's beach vacation rentals hoping to witness this feat of nature, making it imperative to educate visitors about these gentle creatures. Below, learn a little background information before enjoying the state's gorgeous sandy shores during turtle nesting season.
Why Sea Turtles Come to Alabama Shores
Turtles love warm and temperate waters, and are known to travel hundreds of miles to lay their eggs at the same nesting grounds each year. In Alabama, this happens from May to October, during which the endangered marine turtles inevitably share the coast with the beach-going public.
A female sea turtle can lay up to 100 eggs at a time, with hatchlings emerging after 55 to 75 days. But without programs to educate humans, both mothers and babies remain at risk, and many hatchlings aren't able to reach the sea safely.
Which Sea Turtle Species Visit Gulf Shores?
There are three common species on the beach—loggerheads, Kemp's ridleys, and green sea turtles. Among these, loggerheads are perhaps the most recognizable, with their big heads and reddish-brown shells.
Kemp's ridley sea turtles are the world's smallest variety, and also the most endangered species of turtle. They have greenish-gray backs and are typically only two feet long. Meanwhile, green sea turtles are among the largest and are the lone herbivore species.
How to Make Your Visit Sea Turtle-Friendly
Many Gulf Shores organizations help raise awareness about the species nesting season. As you enjoy the sun and sand, remember not to interfere with any nest or sea turtle tracks you come across; otherwise, you will face fines and other penalties.
At night, refrain from using flash photography and use a red filter when using flashlights along the beach, which can disturb nesting activities and confuse the hatchlings scurrying for their first dip at sea. Red filters are available at the City Store. Visitors at vacation house rentals must also refrain from using outdoor lighting as much as possible. Lastly, don't leave any belongings behind on the beach, as they could obstruct baby sea turtles as they make their way to open waters.
For over 30 years, Gulf Shores Rentals Inc. in Baldwin County, AL, has been one of the area's best accommodation providers, offering vacation house rentals as well as beachfront condos. Call (855) 727-2334 to learn more about their stay and play program or participate in one of the local events. Browse their beach houses for rent on their website or follow them on Facebook for more updates and deals.