When taking a trip to the beach this year, it’s important to remember you are visiting the home of many wonderful animals. Enjoy their presence, but be respectful when encountering them.

Regardless of which animal you encounter, we encourage you to remain a safe distance of about 50 yards. Remember that you are guests in their home, so keep the viewing at a minimum in order to reduce the stress on the animals. Please do not attempt to feed or pet the animals!

While visiting their natural surroundings, you might come across an animal stranded outside its habitat. These situations can be dangerous for the animal as well as humans. It’s important to NOT push the animal back into the water, as this can hurt them and cause undue stress. Instead, protect the animal by encouraging other beachgoers to keep a safe distance from the animals.

The Alabama Marine Mammal Stranding Network is available in Alabama to respond to dolphin and whale strandings; to report such situations (live or carcasses), please call 877- WHALE-HELP (877-942-5343). For manatee strandings (live or carcasses), please call 866-493-5803.

May through October is sea turtle nesting and hatching season across the Gulf Coast. Our friends at Share The Beach help protect the sea turtles so they can nest and hatch safely. If you encounter a sea turtle nest or witness a boiling, they ask that you stay a safe distance away and refrain from using flashlights or flash cameras. If you encounter an unmarked nest or see a sea turtle emergency, please call 866-SEA-TURTLE.

Always remember to Leave Only Footprints when visiting our beaches!