Stay in the know about wildlife, water quality, and ecosystems on Sanibel and Captiva Islands and in Southwest Florida

Prevent Sea Turtle Light Disorientation

July 11, 2023
sea turtle hatchling heading to sea

Please remember to turn off or shield all lights visible from the beach after 9 p.m., as light disorientation has contributed to several hatchling mortalities on Sanibel this summer.

Hatchlings naturally detect the moonlit horizon to find their way to the water, and artificial lights can cause them to head the wrong direction and die from dehydration, heat exhaustion, or encounters with predators, humans, and cars.

Even interior lights can cause hatchling disorientation, so please close curtains and blinds at night. Also refrain from using flashlights or cell phone lights while on the beach in the dark. 

city of Sanibel dark sky light fixture guide


What is wildlife-friendly lighting?

Certified wildlife lighting

Sanibel lighting ordinance

FWC sea turtle disorientation page

After 9, it’s turtle time campaign

Call the SCCF Sea Turtle Hotline at 978-728-3663 to report stranded turtles or issues related to nests, lighting, beach furniture, or holes on the beach. Lighting violations can also be reported to the Sanibel Police Department at 239-472-3111, Sanibel Code Enforcement 239-472-4136, or Sanibel Natural Resources at 239-472-3700.

Learn more about SCCF’s sea turtle program.


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