Sea turtles are large, air-breathing reptiles that live in our oceans. Only female turtles return to the beach to nest. Florida has nearly 1,200 miles of coastline which attracts about 90% of sea turtle nesting.
There are four species of sea turtles that nest on the beaches of Gulf Islands National Seashore. The most common are loggerheads (Caretta caretta). In addition the park also has nests from green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) and few Kemp's Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii). In 2000, the park documented it's first leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) turtle nest.
In response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in cooperation with state wildlife agencies are translocating sea turtle eggs from nests to the Atlantic Coast in Florida.