- Don’t use flashlights, campfires, cameras and cellphones while on nesting beaches at night!
- Don’t smoke while there are turtles on the beach.
- Don’t litter!
- Don’t drive on nesting beaches! You might crush entire clutches of eggs beneath the sand.
- Don’t stake umbrellas or other objects on nesting beaches, nests will not always be obvious.
- Building sand castles? Keep it below the high water mark to avoid accidentally disturbing or destroying any eggs.
- Control dogs on the beach – prevent digging up nests and eat eggs and hatchlings! Like we saw written in the intro…
- Don’t touch, ride or harass nesting turtles or hatchlings!
When you see a sea turtle laying – Guidelines
When the turtle has stopped digging, the SOS Turtle Patrol, hotel security or a knowledgeable guide will determine if the laying process has begun by approaching the turtle cautiously from behind (No Flashlights).
During the actual laying process, SOS patrol volunteers may measure and tag the turtle and occasionally, if the situation permits, small groups may be led closer to briefly see the eggs.
Flashlights of your Cameras
All flashlights being used on turtle nesting beaches during nesting season should be equipped with a red L.E.D bulbs or filters.
Overall flashlight use should be kept to a bare minimum. Flashlights may be used from behind the turtle to
- highlight the laying process
- aid in the collection of research data by qualified patrol volunteers
- In case of emergency
- Never shine a flashlight near the turtle’s face or directly at hatchlings!
Flash photography of nesting turtles is a controversial issue. In some places it is harassment and is illegal. Out of respect for the nesting turtles and hatchlings, SOS asks that there be no flash photography as it can blind and disorient turtles and complicates their return to the sea. Buy a postcard instead! Infrared / low-light video recording is okay.
Be VERY careful where you put your feet when there are hatchlings on the beach as they are difficult to see at night and can be easily crushed!
Do not touch or disturb emerging hatchlings, as they must orient themselves to their environment by crossing the beach; NEVER place hatchlings directly into the sea.
As far as possible, remove any objects (sandcastles, debris etc.) or predators (dogs etc.) and turn off or block any light sources that may complicate the hatchlings journey to the sea.
Hatchling during the day – What to do?
If you should ever come across hatchlings or adult turtles emerging during the day or hatchlings and or adult turtles that are clearly disoriented by artificial lighting at night OR hatchlings / adult turtles that appear to be in any other kind of extraordinary difficulty, trapped in a net for example, immediately alert SOS directly or contact us as soon as possible. We want to make sure our future generation is able to enjoy this wondrous moments too!
Best time to come to Tobago for sea turtles
Between March and May is the best season to come an see mother sea turtles on the beach to lay eggs. From May to June it is most likely to see a nest hatching and seeing hatchlings finding their way to the beach. Although this is not a guarantee to see them during your stay, you will have the best chance then. Always contact SOS directly or via us to inform about Turtle watching.