Sea Turtle Releases

One of the most rewarding aspects of our work is releasing hatchlings and rehabilitated patients. Whenever possible, we love to share these special moments with the community as a public release. Below you’ll find information on our public releases, as well as frequently asked questions. 

Public Hatchling Releases

Hatchling releases are an incredible opportunity to see endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles beginning their journey. 

Our number one priority is to make sure sea turtle hatchlings make it to the Gulf of Mexico as soon as they hatch. Generally, it happens right in the middle of the night. However, sometimes hatchlings emerge as the sun is rising, and we are able to hold a public release. Your chance of seeing a public hatchling release increases when a lot of nests are expected to hatch at the same time.

Releases are held during the season (June – August). Nature is unpredictable and we can’t predetermine the exact time hatchlings will emerge, though we can give rough estimated date. These dates are published during the season on our nesting calendar. 

 Below are our frequently asked questions.

 

June through to August. 

Hatchling releases are announced the morning of the release. A post will be made on our social accounts at 6:00am for a 6:45am release. Public hatchling releases will be announced through our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. 

In the best interest of the hatchlings, we release as soon as nests hatch. The unpredictable timing of nature means we cannot predetermine specific release days.

It’s free, although spots are limited. Plan to arrive early.

No. Sea turtles are state and federally are protected. Only permitted individuals are allowed to handle sea turtles by law.

Being a Sea Turtle Inc. member means you are the first to be notified of a public release. These notifications are sent directly to your phone before a public announcement is made. You can find out more about our memberships here.

Public Patient Release

Rescue, rehabilitation, and release of injured sea turtles is a key part of our mission. 

Patients stay in our hospital to recover and complete their treatment, which vary depending on the severity of their injuries. When they’re healthy and strong, we release them out into the Laguna Madre, or into the Gulf – both being a natural habitat for sea turtles on South Padre Island. 

Public patient releases are an exciting way to engage our community in our rehabilitation work. Public patient releases most often occur in the warmer months like Summer and Spring, though we may have a winter release as the result of a cold stun.

 

Public patient releases are planned in accordance with our permits. Conditions must be appropriate for a release, and therefore are announced at varying times throughout the Spring and Summer. 

Public patient releases will be announced by posting on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. We will create a Facebook event with specific details. 


Release locations vary, please see our Facebook event or social media posts for details.

Our release locations have free parking, though spots may be limited. We recommend arriving early.

No. Sea turtles are state and federally are protected. Only permitted individuals are allowed to handle sea turtles by law.

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