TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ Florida wildlife officials are warning beachgoers to watch out for sea turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs.
Loggerhead, leatherback and green turtles regularly nest on Florida beaches from March through October.
All three are federally protected species.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials warn beachgoers to leave the turtles and their nests alone.
Sea turtle eggs typically incubate for 45 to 60 days, and the vulnerable hatchlings will emerge through November.
Officials urge people to turn off or shield outdoor lights that face the ocean, because the artificial lights can disorient hatchlings heading toward the water.
Officials say 2011 was an exceptional year for sea turtles in Florida, with a record number of green turtle nests and a high number of leatherback turtle nests.