Behind the Scenes banner
Tiny washback green sea turtle

A tiny green sea turtle rests on the palm of a Sea Turtle Healing Center employee.

9/1/18 update: This blog entry is from 2017 and pertains to Hurricane Irma. Click here for instructions regarding sea turtles impacted by Hurricane Dorian.

9/12/17 update: If you cannot reach STPS or FWC, leave your washback(s) in the dropbox at Lori Wilson Park in Cocoa Beach. A volunteer will collect them in the near future.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, many baby sea turtles are washing up on Florida’s beaches. We are very thankful that so many people want to help these little ones! Please be aware that unless you are following the directions of a state-issued permit holder, it is illegal to transport sea turtles in any capacity. Brevard County has a wonderful network of volunteers who are permitted to handle and transport sea turtles. The Zoo, Sea Turtle Preservation Society (STPS), and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) work closely together to make sure sea turtles of all sizes and species are rescued and care for properly.

If you find a hatchling or “washback” sea turtle on the beach, do not bring it to the Zoo as we are unable to accept patients from the public. Place the animal in a shaded container with damp sand or a damp cloth. Do not put it in water. Call one of the following numbers:

  • STPS at 321-206-0646. If they are able, STPS a volunteer will come to your location to pick up the sea turtle. If a volunteer is not available, STPS may request that you take the hatchling to one of the approved hatchling drop-off locations below:
  • Sea Turtle Preservation Society office, 111 S. Miramar (A1A), Indialantic, FL 32903
  • Lori Wilson Park, 1500 N. Atlantic Ave., Cocoa Beach, FL 32953
  • Barrier Island Center, 8385 S Hwy. A1A, Melbourne Beach, FL 32951
  • FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 1-888-404-3922 or *FWC on your mobile phone

If you find a dead, sick, or injured sea turtle of any size (other than a washback), please call Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) 24-hour Wildlife Alert Hotline at 1-888-404-FWCC (1-888-404-3922) or dial *FWC on your mobile phone.  Please be prepared to answer the following questions:

  1. What is the exact location of the animal?
  2. Is the turtle alive or dead?
  3. What is the approximate size of the turtle?
  4. Is the turtle marked with spray paint? (This may indicate that the turtle has been previously documented.)
  5. What is the location of the closest access point to the turtle?