Summer is right around the corner here at the Island Inn! The change of the season brings long days at the beach, fun in the sun and a good time. It also brings the start of Loggerhead Turtle Nesting Season. From May – October, Sanibel beaches are home to many nests and making sure these future generations are protected is important to all visitors and residents of Sanibel Island.
Every year a few lucky guests are fortunate enough to witness the spectacle of massive 300 lbs. loggerheads making their way out of the Gulf of Mexico and onto Sanibel’s beaches. It is a more regular occurrence to see the evidence of this majestic sea turtles journey in the early mornings, as they often leave 4 foot wide tracts behind their crawl. From the northern tip of Captiva all the way to the Sanibel Lighthouse, the beaches are checked at sunrise by volunteers who are looking for new crawl tracts or even hatchlings.
Be on the lookout next time you’re on the beach and keep these tips in mind to help preserve these wonderful creatures!
- Both mothers and hatchlings use the light of the moon as their guidance. Therefore it’s very important to turn off or shield all lights that are visible from the beach (porch, car, etc.)
- Avoid using flashlights on the beach
- Do not disturb the screens and stakes used to mark and cover nests. They prevent eggs from being eaten by predators and the hatchlings can emerge through the holes without assistance
- Remove all beach furniture and equipment from the beach at night, as these act as barriers to both mothers and babies.
- Dispose of fishing line and tackle properly
- Fill in large holes in the sand that can trap hatchlings
- Do not disturb nesting or crawling mother or baby turtles – do not to get too close, shine lights on, or take flash photos of the sea turtles
- Pick up all trash and litter
Sea Turtle Fun Facts:
- Loggerheads are the most common sea turtle in Florida
- Hatchlings are 2 inches long weighing only ounces, but adult loggerheads can grow to 4 feet long and can weigh up to 400 lbs.
- Loggerheads can live to be 50 years old
- Each nest contains 100 or more eggs
- Depending on the temperatures of the sand, incubation takes about 55 to 65 days
- Mature females will often return, sometimes over thousands of miles, to the beach where they were hatched to now lay their own eggs