Using infrared lighting, a live-streaming, high-definition “turtle webcam” positioned on a beach in the Florida Keys recorded the hatch of about 100 baby loggerhead sea turtles on Friday, July 25, just before 9 p.m.
Friday evening, the 3-inch-long babies erupted from a hole, came out en masse and headed to the Atlantic Ocean under dim moonlight.
The camera uses infrared lighting so hatchlings won’t be confused by artificial light and will go to sea — guided by moonlight reflecting on the water — instead of pushing further onto land.
The webcam has been focused on the nest in the Lower Keys for almost two weeks, and is part of ongoing efforts in the Florida Keys to raise awareness of sea turtles and the need to protect them.
Loggerhead, green, leatherback, hawksbill and Kemp’s ridley sea turtles nest on beaches in the Keys and other parts of Florida, and inhabit Florida and Keys waters. All five species are considered either threatened or endangered, and are protected by the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973.
The webcam was approved by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.