Here's what to do if you see a hurt or sick sea turtle, hatchling

Image 1 of 2

Sea turtles love Bay Area beaches, whether for nesting or just a nice place to swim. For that reason, there's a higher chance beach goers may come upon a stranded, sick, or injured turtle. 

The Mote Marine Laboratory Stranding Investigations Program team wants everyone to know it is ready to respond and get turtles the help they need.

Sea turtles are protected under federal law and any harassment or interference with a sea turtle, living or dead, is subject to penalty. Anyone who suspects tampering with a sea turtle nest or harassment of a sea turtle is asked to contact FWC or local law enforcement right away.

To report a sick or injured sea turtle in Sarasota or Manatee counties, call Mote Marine Laboratory at 941-988-0212. Outside of Sarasota or Manatee counties, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) at 888-404-FWCC (3922).

Anyone who finds sea turtle hatchlings somewhere other than the beach, or headed away from the ocean, is asked to call for instructions from Mote's Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program at 941-388-4331. Mote says to not put hatchlings in water or take them into air conditioning.