Turtle nesting season is something that I've become fascinated with ever since we purchased our home on the island. Because we were once primarily only visitors to the island in the winter and spring time, I was never a witness this annual event. I'm now amazed by all the new information I'm learning about how we can help the sea turtles.
Did you know?
- Turtle season officially takes place from May 1st through October 31st.
- 90% of all sea turtle nesting takes place in Florida!
- The most prevalent turtle in the Anna Maria area is the loggerhead turtle, named for it's over sized, log-like head.
- Sea turtles lay their eggs in the sand at night and lay as many as 100 eggs at a time.
- There is only a 1% survival rate for the baby turtles.
When the mother turtle approaches the beach at night to lay her eggs the beach must be clear of obstacles and holes. If they run into an obstacle on the beach they may return to the ocean without laying the eggs. This is known as a "false crawl". It can be determined when tracks are found in the sand but the tracks do not lead to a nest. Holes are especially dangerous for the newly hatched babies trying to get out to sea. If they fall in a hole they will become trapped.
How can we help?
- Stay away from turtle nests on the beach marked with stakes and tape.
- Lights out on the beach during nesting season - lights confuse the turtle mamas and babies at night. No flashlights, headlamps or camera flashes.
- Remove all beach furniture, tents, and other obstacles from the beach at dusk.
- Knock down all sand castles and fill in all holes in the sand.
- Learn about more ways to help or become a sponsor on the Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch website by clicking on the image below: