TALLAHASSEE — A variety of species are following their internal biological clocks that tell them to move, mate, feed and nest. 

Florida’s residents and visitors can help by avoiding disturbing wildlife in spring, according to these tips from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Keep beaches dark at night and free of obstacles during sea turtle nesting season, March through October. Bright artificial lights can disturb nesting sea turtles and disorient hatchlings, so avoid using flashlights or cellphones there. Turning out lights or closing curtains and shades in buildings along the beach after dark also helps nesting turtles as they come ashore, and hatchlings won’t get disoriented when they emerge.

Clear away boats and beach furniture at the end of the day and fill in holes in the sand that could entrap turtles.

Look out for manatees when boating. Chances of close encounters between these large mammals and boaters increase in the spring, as manatees leave their winter use areas and travel the intracoastal waterways along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and other inland waters.Follow posted speed limits, as many areas have seasonal zones that reflect migration patterns.

Gopher tortoises are more active, foraging for food and searching for a mate. If you see gopher tortoises or their half-moon shaped burrow entrances, leave them alone.

Help them cross a road by picking up and placing them in a safe location along the roadside in the direction they are heading, but only if safe for an individual to do so.

Because the tortoise is a land animal, never attempt to put it into water.

Keep a distance from nesting birds on the beach or on the water. If birds become agitated or leave their nests, you are too close. This can cause birds to abandon their nesting sites, which exposes eggs and chicks to things like predators and sun exposure.

They build well-camouflaged shallow nests out of sand and shells on beaches, their nests, eggs and chicks are vulnerable to being stepped on. Wading birds, such as herons and egrets, and pelicans also are nesting now on mangroves and tree islands.

Bears are more active in spring, increasing the opportunities for conflicts with people. Don’t give bears a reason to stay in your neighborhood. Remove anything that might attract them, such as unsecured garbage or pet food. If they can’t find food, they’ll move on.

If you encounter a snake, stand back and observe it. Snakes would much rather avoid encounters and usually will flee.

Leave baby animals alone. They are rarely orphaned. A parent may be nearby searching for food or observing its young.

Call or text 888-404-FWCC (3922); or #FWC or *FWC on a cell phone to report violations or animals in distress.