Boom boom, out go the lights
Ravenwood - 08/15/05 06:15 AM
For six months out of the year, residents of Cocoa Beach (and other parts of Florida) are forced to stumble around in the dark once the sun goes down. That's because baby sea turtles are too stupid to find the ocean once they hatch, and often end up following man-made lights instead of the moon. Now, turtles hatchlings are only born for one month during the year, but never the less from May 1 to November 1 residents who dare to turn on the light after 9 PM face a $1000 fine.
Of course, the rules don't apply to everyone. The city government is the biggest violator.
City officials won't turn off the lights on the Minutemen Causeway because of safety concerns. They're working with Florida Power & Light Co. to fix the problem within the next few weeks, then they'll address lights elsewhere in the city.
So the city keeps the lights on for safety concerns of the collective public. But if you're concerned about your individual safety, tough luck. You can just stumble around in the dark.
It's a "crime" to disturb a sea turtle nest, too. Saw one when I was in FL last week, and my cousin gave me the commentary. Evidently mama turtle lays the eggs in the sand and never returns.
She's prolly afraid to come back because she'll be arrested for disturbing the nest.
Mama turtle doesn't come back to the nest because she needs plenty of luck to make one round trip up from the beach and back without getting eaten. (Also, she's probably too stupid to find the spot again.) But mama is well-protected compared to the hatchlings; every predator that can make it to the beach will be there for the hatching, to snap up those yummy soft-shelled tidbits before they make it a few feet to the sea. The babies are perfectly fit to survive on their own if they make it to the water, but sea turtles of any size are close to helpless on land.
So I can see a point in not turning on your lights and confusing the babies. However, I thought that they hatched only on a spring tide, when the water comes up as high on the beach as it ever does (short of hurricanes) so the hatchlings don't have far to go. That's only a few nights a year. I also remember that Tom Jefferson and his pals had a cure for a government that held itself above the people and didn't have to follow the regulations it imposed on others - the 2nd Amendment.
I wonder how the turtle's color vision is? Maybe the right color light (red or blue?) wouldn't be seen by the turtles.
I think putting out a red porch light might attract the wrong kind of attention.
"I think putting out a red porch light might attract the wrong kind of attention."
Teenage Mutant Ho-bag Turtles.
Why not just make a sport of chucking the hatchlings into the ocean?
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