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What to do if you find a turtle on the beach

On Padre Island National Seashore, please report stranded dead or live sea turtles IMMEDIATELY by calling the turtle pager number (361) 851-4255 or during office hours call turtle lab staff directly at (361) 949-8173 Ext. 228. Turtle nesting season is from April 1st to July 30th. If a turtle is on the beach outside of nesting season, it is definitely sick, no matter how healthy it may look. Please don’t try to help the turtle back into the water as this may distress or even drown the animal. Padre Island National Seashore staff needs to retrieve these turtles (dead or alive) as soon as possible. You do not need to report turtles swimming in the water if they are not in any distress.
With each stranded turtle please report the following:
1. Name and phone number of the person reporting the stranding.
 
2. Date and time of sighting.
 
3. Turtle’s location, proximity to surf, any landmarks (ex: 25 mile marker PINS, near the base of dunes, next to a blue bucket.
 
4. Size of turtle and any injuries (ex: shell is 2 feet long, missing front flipper).
 
5. Photos of top and bottom of shell if possible.
 
 Help Sea Turtles With Safe Fishing Practices
 
If a turtle is entangled on your fishing line…
1. Gently bring the turtle close to you and firmly hold it by the shell or base of front flippers.
 
2. Remove the hook if the turtle is lightly hooked. Please report all hooking events, no matter how minor (include photos if you can).
 
3. Keep your fingers away from the turtle’s mouth – serious wounds can be inflicted by a bite. 
 
4. Do not lift the turtle out of the water using hook and line.
 
5. Turtles with serious cuts, ingested or deeply embedded hooks need veterinary care. Keep turtles cool with water and shade and call park staff.
 
6. Prevent entanglement by avoiding casting into areas where turtles are seen surfacing to breathe. 
 
Please dispose of all registration materials properly and remember to remove more trash than you bring!

 


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