VIDEO: Sea Turtles Hatching on Panama City Beach

by August 10, 2009 • 10 comments

Over 100 sea turtles hatched Sunday night on Panama City Beach.


August 9, 2009.  The hatching season began last Sunday when 99 loggerhead hatchlings emerged from nest #3 at the Coral Reef Condo at 8 pm.  Many crawled east toward lights of an adjacent condo and were rescued by Turtle Watch volunteers with assistance from local residents and tourists.  The disoriented hatchlings were collected in coolers and released on a dark beach in western Bay County.  See Nest Information for details on the other hatched nests.  If you see nesting or hatchling turtles on Panama City
Beach, immediately call 888-404-3922 (24-hr hotline). Please remember not to crowd or shine lights on nesting turtles or hatchlings. Contact us at Turtle Watch for more information about our program.

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1 Ruth August 10, 2009 at 4:06 pm

VERY cool video! I’ve never seen them hatch out before! thanks for posting!


2 Jason Koertge August 10, 2009 at 4:11 pm

wow, that was amazing. never had seen that before either. need to capture that in HD!


3 Sandy Thompson August 10, 2009 at 5:23 pm

That is so awesome to watch. Do you know that those that make it to the water will not return to PCBeach for about 25 years, then they, according to my friend and naturalist, come back to where they were hatched to lay their own eggs. Isn’t nature miraculous!


4 Annie August 10, 2009 at 8:17 pm

WOW. It is so great to live in a community where we can be part of such an awesome event. Thanks for sharing. My son and I enjoyed that very much:-)


5 Diane August 11, 2009 at 9:00 am

I hate to rain on this awesome parade, but does no one see a problem in that hatchlings started to the lights on the condo? What if Turtle Watch personnel had not been there to rescue the hatchlings? Bay County had a turtle lighting ordinance adopted in 2002 for the west end of the county that required turtle friendly lighting and that was supposed to be implemented across unincorporated county if shown to be successful. Success was proven but the ordinance was trashed in favor of one that simply lets people turn off their lights — unless they CLAIM it would create a security problem. The previously required turtle-friendly lighting has been proven across the globe to provide security but it is no longer required.

It would have been nice if all those who were awed by this event had attended the ordinance meetings to support protection of the hatchlings, if for no other reason than to keep them around as a tourist draw.


6 BeachinMod August 11, 2009 at 9:40 am

The best news feed, and most important to our community, by far since hit the internet!! Thank you for being there for all of us.


7 Jason Koertge August 11, 2009 at 9:49 am

diane, I didn’t see any condos in the video, how do you know which direction they were heading? Further more, it looked like they were going in all directions in the beginning.


8 Sandy August 11, 2009 at 10:28 am

I could not tell which direction the hatchlings were headed at first, but their natural inclination is to head toward the brightest light (in many cases waterfront condos). Many coastal areas do have lighting ordinances to help protect the sea turtles…and it has been proven to work. I found guests in northeast Florida to be very considerate in enforcing this ordinance.


9 Richard Scott August 11, 2009 at 4:39 pm

Thank You Turtle Watch people. I have advocated Turtle Hatcheries for several years and nothing. Marifarms would be ideal with improvements. The turtle lighting ordinance has been batted around for years with many $$ spent? Other countries very sucessfully raise Turtle Hatchlings to ensure a high survival rate. Thanks to Turtle watch organizations and Hatcheries.


10 Larry Couch August 12, 2009 at 5:53 pm

I was lucky enough to watch some hatchlings emerge from their nest just east of Fontainebleau a few years back. Even back then it was pretty obvious that some were disoriented by lights from developments. Another thing to remember next time you’re at the beach: make sure you let people know that their giant holes can cause problems for momma turtle and her hatchlings. We were at the beach the other day and it was like landmines had went off. This video demonstrates how difficult it is for these guys to navigate. I hope they’re still around when my son is old enough to appreciate them. Seeing them hatch in person is an un-paralleled experience.