What’s a washback?
With the approach of Eta, post-hatchling sea turtles are being washed in along with the sargassum seaweed on Brevard County beaches. These little guys, commonly called washbacks, hatched earlier in the summer and swam 20-25 miles offshore to the Sargasso Sea, where they have been living in the floating beds of seaweed. Storms, waves, and wind can disrupt these beds and bring the young sea turtles to shore along with the seaweed.
Please do not go looking for these post-hatchling sea turtles. Rest assured that STPS has trained and authorized personnel in its Sea Turtle Emergency Response Program, or STERP, that will survey the beaches as needed. These volunteers have received training and been authorized by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Please remember that sea turtles are protected by law, and it is illegal to touch one of any size.
If you do happen to find a post-hatchling on the beach, please follow these guidelines:
- CALL the STPS emergency hotline at 321-206-0646 or FWC at 888-404-3922 for guidance.
- DO NOT put the post-hatchling into the ocean. It likely will not have enough energy to survive.
- DO NOT place the post-hatchling in water or air conditioning. This could further injure or kill the sea turtle.
Thank you for your dedication to helping sea turtles survive.