Beach lovers in Broward please watch where you walk these days. According to the latest count, the county's beaches are holding more than 2,300 sea turtle nests.
The county's Natural Resources Specialist Stephanie Kedzuf said that may sound like a lot, but it's pretty average for this time of year. Most nests are popping up on the county's northern beaches.
"Our most densely nested beach in Broward County is up in Hillsboro," she said. "As we go farther south in Broward County, we get a little bit lower density nesting - and we're not entirely sure why that is."
Kedzuf said despite that scientific mystery, Fort Lauderdale's beach comes in second with the most nests.
There's still about three months left in Sea Turtle nesting season - it ends on Oct. 31.
The county is still expecting a few hundred more nests in the meantime, Kedzuf said.
"We'll just have to wait and see though, they could surprise us and lay a little bit more than that," she said.
To count all the nests and monitor the hatchlings, Kedzuf oversees Broward County's partnership with Nova Southeastern University's Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography. Students and faculty there run the county's conservation program.
Broward has three types of sea turtles that come to nest on its beaches. The most nests belong to Loggerhead sea turtles, and they lay an average of 100 eggs per nest.
"The hatchlings are adorable, they've got these really big bright eyes when you see them," Kedzuf said.
Green turtles are the second-highest population, but they tend to lay more eggs - up to 120 per nest. There are some Leatherback turtles that come to lay their eggs in Broward, too.
In order to keep the number of sea turtle nests up, it's important for people to remember to use sea-turtle safe lighting.
"We just ask that if you are out on the beach that you don't use any flashlights, because any source of artificial lighting can either deter females from nesting - or can disorient or confuse hatchlings that are trying to make their way to the water," Kedzuf said. "Definitely leave the flashlights at home....and avoid the use of flash photography."
For buildings and houses near the beaches, lights that are low to the ground, shielded, and have low wattage with long wavelengths are safest for turtles to find their way to the ocean.
There are opportunities to go watch sea turtle hatchlings get released into the ocean, in Boca Raton, Dania Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Hollywood with various nature centers.
Broward County has recorded over 2,300 sea turtle nests so far this season! How many more do you think we’ll document before season is over? #turtletuesday pic.twitter.com/2Wi3yLbXHD— Broward County Environment (@BrowardEnv) July 24, 2018