Sea turtles are the most well-known species of
reptiles that are negatively affected by artificial light. Female
turtles nest on subtropical and tropical beaches around the world.
About two months later, the hatchlings burst from the nest en masse
and start scrambling to the brightest horizon. On a natural
beach, this is toward the moon and starlight glimmering off the
water, and away from the shadowy dune. Artificial lights cause a
problem for hatchlings because they lead the small turtles away
from the safety of the water, where they succumb to dehydration,
predators, or even being run over by cars. They also affect nesting
females, who may spend valuable energy moving toward lights and
away from the water instead of returning to the sea after nesting.
Tragically, nesting females may also be attracted to roads where
they are hit by cars. The loss of a female who has, against the
odds, made it to reproductive age is a significant loss to these
threatened and endangered populations. For more information on the effects
of lights on sea turtles.
Other species of reptiles are also affected by artificial light.
For example, geckos are a nocturnal species of reptile that are
drawn to light to feed. This, in turn, makes the geckos more
susceptible to predators.