Spot a wayward baby sea turtle along the Florida coast? Here's how you can help

PONCE INLET, Fla. — Hundreds of baby sea turtles are getting a second shot at life in the open ocean thanks to the efforts of Central Florida marine biologists.

Officials at the Marine Science Center in Ponce Inlet said rough surf and strong winds have caused hundreds of baby sea turtles to wash back up on Florida shores over the past week.

Alyssa Hancock, assistant manager of the sea turtle hospital at the Marine Science Center, said many of those turtles will look like they're dead, but are actually just very weak and too tired to make another attempt at swimming out to sea.

She said once these loggerhead and green sea turtles are fed and hydrated, they start to swim again.

If beachgoers encounter a baby turtle that appears to be struggling in the sand, they should not put them in the water. Instead, officials said they should be put in a container with some wet sand on the bottom and brought to a place like the Marine Science Center.

She said so far this week about 300 turtles have been brought into the Marine Science Center.  Last year, they had 5,000.

Hancock said in a few weeks, the turtles will soon be returned to the seaweed line by boat to live instead of having to attempt a second ocean trek.

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