Sanibel is a haven for nature and nature lovers. As over 60% of our island is protected land, many species thrive here. I’ve always loved turtles and many species of these ancient hard shelled reptiles make their home on Sanibel Island. Today I’ll write a bit about our Sea Turtles.
Sanibel Sea Turtles
Every year hundreds of sea turtles nest on our pristine beaches. This year we had a total of 277 nests on Sanibel beaches and 77 nests on Captiva beaches. Most nests are of threatened Loggerhead Sea Turtles, but we see a few nests of endangered Green Sea Turtles. This year we had one nest of a Kemp’s Ridley (though it failed to hatch) and in 2009 we had a successful hatching of a Leatherback Sea Turtle nest.
The Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) coordinates over 100 volunteers who comb the beaches during nesting season searching for turtle crawls. They stake out the nests then monitor them. After a hatching, SCCF digs the nest to record the number of eggs and to rescue any trapped baby turtles.
SCCF Turtle Hatchling Release – Casa Ybel – Sanibel Island
SCCF Release of Cold Stunned Sanibel Turtles
During January of 2010 Florida experienced extremely unusual prolonged cold temperatures that cold-stunned our sea turtles. Across Florida over 4,500 sea turtles were rescued with 80% surviving to be released. Here is a video of rescued Sanibel sea turtles being released.