There was a period in time when sea turtles easily found a dark, quiet beach to lay their eggs. Today turtles are having to compete with tourists, businesses and residential housing for those very same beaches.
After extensive research, scientists began to discover that artificial lights used to illuminate our beaches, businesses and coastal homes discouraged turtles from going onto the beach to lay their eggs. The end result being, very few of their offspring would actually survive.
When turtles are first born, their instinct was to go towards the brightest light they could see which used to be the moon shining on the water's surface. However, due to bright artificial lights, turtles can become disoriented. When they became disoriented, instead of heading towards the water, they often navigate to roadways and put themselves jeopardy of getting run over or passing away due to exhaustion and dehydration.
As a result of these findings, the majority of coastal areas across the United States require turtle friendly lighting to be installed to eliminate these instances from occurring.
Generally, you can follow three simple steps that will ensure the safety of turtles and that they find their way to the beaches.
- Install light fixtures that specifically direct the light toward the ground where its actually needed. The lower mounting height these fixtures are placed at the better.
- Make sure the fixture has a shield installed so that the bulb is not visible from the beach.
- If you're looking at LED, the bulb should be either red or amber in color.
Installing turtle friendly light fixtures to illuminate your property will help protect the nearby turtles. Choose turtle friendly fixtures with LED technology are long-lasting and energy efficient, which will also further help the environment. Before you purchase or install new lighting, check with your local ordinances to find which species may be affected by artificial light.