Posted by Valerie Tutor on Sunday, May 4th, 2014 at 12:54am.
Sea Turtle Nesting Season is here! May 1st starts the beginning of nesting season for sea turtles throughout Florida. Islanders and visitors will start to notice nests on the beach that will be full of sea turtle eggs. Sanibel and Captiva Island beach represent important sites that contribute to the nesting effort in Florida and have more activity than any other beaches in our county. Loggerhead, green, waterhead, and the rare Kemp’s Ridley and Leatherback sea turtles make their way to the Sanibel & Captiva beaches of our islands to lay their eggs! Mama turtles lay their eggs at night, after dragging themselves out of the water onto the beach and finding a suitable location. They depend on the moon to navigate from the ocean to the beach and back again. The eggs incubate in the warm sand for about two months before the hatchlings begin to emerge. They hatch at night when the sand is cool and depend on the moonlight to guide them to the water. Our islands have a wonderful group of volunteers, supervised by the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation, that patrol the beach each morning to mark and monitor nests during the season, which lasts through October. Visitors have asked me why it seems so dark sometimes on our island and a lot of the reason is that we are committed to eliminating “light pollution” at night, especially along the beachfront, to avoid disorienting the hatchlings as they emerge and make their journey to the ocean. The other advantage is that the night sky is so pretty here! Since the turtles are protected by law, residents and beach visitors are asked to remove any furniture at night from the beach and the dunes that might become a barrier to a nesting turtle or a hatchling; level sandcastles and fill in holes; pick up trash; honor the leash law so that our beach-going dogs don’t accidentally dig up a nest. When you come to Sanibel & Captiva during the summer, you will no doubt see the nests along the beach marked with colorful tape or cones and you will know there are baby turtles incubating there! If you want to learn more about sea turtles on Sanibel & Captiva or all our other native critters – visit SCCF’s nature center when you are here or go to www.sccf.org!
I am a true Florida native and proud of my heritage growing up in South Florida on an 80 acre cattle ranch only two hours from Sanibel. Since the early 1960s, my family loved to spend our free time on Sanibel and Captiva, so I pretty much grew up here. After living and working all over South and Central Florida, my husband and I were thrilled to be able to move home to Sanibel Island.READ MORE