Sea Turtle Nesting Season
Sea Turtle Nesting Season is Here on Siesta Key and Surrounding Island
Siesta Key. Sea Turtle Nest Sign on Siesta Key Turtle Nesting Season in Sarasota County and its barrier islands has begun and runs through the end of October. Here at Tropical Beach Resorts, we take great responsibility in helping to educate locals and visitors about the local environment and all its wonders. May through October is sea turtle nesting season in Sarasota County and we are lucky to have the highest density of loggerhead sea turtles nesting on Florida’s west coast.
Sarasota County had a record year for sea turtle nesting with over 5.063 nests. Afemale loggerhead turtle uses her back flippers to dig a hole in the sand and deposits about 100 rubbery eggs, each about the size of a ping pong ball. The turtle disguises the nest by covering it with sand. Once she leaves the nest, she never returns.
Sea turtle egg incubation ranges greatly, from 45 to 75 days when the hatchlings will break out of their shells and wait until the sand temperature cools, so most come out of the nest after dark. Coming out of the nest at night protects them from predators and dehydration, and they use then they go towards the brightest horizon, which is hopefully the moon over the water, but in areas with lots of artificial light it could be the wrong direction. This is why it’s so important to make sure there are no lights from buildings or other outdoor structures providing light. Because hatchlings head for light, they are easily disoriented and can head the wrong way, away from water and toward an unhappy ending. Only about 1 out of every 1,000 hatchlings survives to reach adulthood.
The turtles are only about 2-3 inches long and their eyes are about one inch off of the ground, so the world is seen much differently by hatchlings.
The turtles scramble to the water where they will live for many years in seaweed beds drifting along the Gulf Stream. As the turtles grow older they can weigh up to 250 lbs and grow up to 3 feet long. They move into coastal waters where they eat jellyfish, sponges, crabs, sea grass and seaweed. Sea turtles breathe air, but can hold their breath for 2 hours when at rest underwater.
What you can do to help during turtle nesting season:
•If you encounter a nesting turtle, remain quiet and observe from a distance.
•Fill in holes that may trap hatchlings.
•Throw trash away in proper place.
•Don’t approach turtles, hatchlings or make noise.
•Don’t use flashlights.
•Don’t touch sea turtles or hatchlings.
Please respect marked sea turtle nests. These are marked with tall wooden sticks and thin colored plastic tape which connects the wooden sticks.
Sea Turtle Nest Sign on Siesta Key
Sea Turtle Nest Sign on Siesta Key
Good Contacts to have: Call FWC or Mote’s Sea Turtle Conservation & Research Program (941-388-4331) for disorientated hatchlings, problems with nesting turtles, problems with nests. If you see disoriented turtles, call Mote or FWC for instructions FIRST (don’t just immediately place in a bucket of sand).
Call Mote’s Stranding Investigations Program (941-988-0212) for stranded sea turtles. Call FWC (888-404-3922) for harassment, vandalism, etc. of nests or sea turtles.
If you see hatchlings in danger or heading away from the the sea, contact Mote Marine Laboratory’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program: 941-388-4331.
It is against the law to touch or disturb nesting sea turtles, hatchlings, or their nests. Sea turtles are protected by both the Federal Endangered Species Act and the Florida Marine Protection Act. If you do see one, take photos, but no flash please!
We take our wildlife very seriously and respect their place in our beautiful, tropical wonderland that is Florida. It is our moral and civic duty to help protect the animals and do our part to help educate the public on how to best experience the beauty and amazement that they do present.
Lots more turtle-friendly tips at https://mote.org/research/program/sea-turtle-conservation-research
If you would like to come and visit during this incredible time of the year and hope to catch a glimpse of baby turtles making their trek to the Gulf of Mexico, give us a call and make your reservation to stay on Siesta Key today! For help with yotr real estate needs Dawn Bear at Key Solutions Real Estate contact me at (941)-468-7224.
Author Dawn Bear