It’s Sea Turtle Season! In fact, it has been for the past few months. If you have visited Sanibel island around this time of year, you can tell that we’re kind of obsessed with our sea turtles.
Not only is it one of our state’s cutest license plates, sea turtle conservation is a serious part of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation’s (SCCF) yearly activities.
Did you know that Sea Turtle Season runs from April – October? Okay, maybe you did. But, did you know that SCCF volunteers monitor 19-miles of beach from the Sanibel Lighthouse to Redfish Pass EVERY MORNING for the six months of nesting season?
That’s serious business! More than 100 volunteers help with the daily search for sea turtle tracks in the sand. Some turtles dig nests and lay eggs, which the volunteers steak off for protection. While other turtles come to shore and return to the Gulf without laying eggs, this is called a non-nesting emergence or a false crawl.
What types of turtles nest on Sanibel and Captiva? –
The majority are Loggerhead Turtle nests with a few Green Turtles as well. Very rarely are there Leatherback Turtle and Kemp’s Ridley nests.
How many eggs do sea turtles lay? –
The average is 110, with each female laying 3-6 nests each season.
How long do the eggs take to hatch? –
Most nests will hatch between 45-65 days after they are laid.
Photos of the newly hatched sea turtle squirming to shore are my favorite! Now you see why we’re obsessed, right? But, SCCF isn’t only involved with sea turtles…
This year marks the non-profit’s 50-year anniversary of preserving paradise since 1967!
SCCF has and continues to…
- Acquire preservation land, with 1,800 acres of wildlife habitat to-date
- Remove invasive, non-native plants and restored native vegetation through the SCCF Wildlife & Habitat Management Program
- Educate and encourage landscaping for wildlife with the SCCF Native Landscapes & Garden Center
- Involve volunteers with sea turtles, nesting shorebirds, plant propagation, and other SCCF programs
- Advocate for restoration of water resources, important habitats, land management, and fish and wildlife conservation through SCCF Natural Resource Policy
- Research land and water habitats for conservation with the SCCF Marine Laboratory
- Educate and share experiences through nature walks, and trails at the SCCF Nature Center
Sea Turtle Stats
Sea Turtle monitoring is broken down into three sections: the East and West end of Sanibel Island, and then Captiva Island. The East end runs from the Sanibel Lighthouse to Tarpon Bay Road, which encompasses 6-miles of nesting habitat. The West end runs from Tarpon Bay Road to Blind Pass, with 8-miles of beach to monitor. SCCF also monitors 5-miles of beach from Blind Pass to Redfish Pass on Captiva Island for sea turtle activity.
Take a look at the nesting stats so far this season…
Click here for more statistics on this year’s sea turtle nesting season, presented by www.seaturtle.org.