7/14/2022 4:54:00 PM Sea Turtles Abound! A Turtle Season Update
In action, CWC volunteers Carol McCoy (pink shirt) and Gina Phelps (green shirt) prepare to lift the disoriented loggerhead turtle for transport back to the water. They were assisted by two unidentified gentlemen. Photo by Wilma Katz.
Submitted by the Coastal Wildlife Club
It’s early July and the beaches of Manasota Key are adorned with turtle nests galore! After all, Manasota Key does host the densest sea turtle nesting on Florida’s Gulf Coast. As of Friday, July 8th, there are 4242 loggerhead, 174 green, and one Kemp’s ridley turtle nests on the 14 miles of Manasota Key that Coastal Wildlife Club (CWC) volunteers monitor daily during sea turtle season. Along with daily new nests, hatching has started. It is more important than ever to keep up your good turtle-friendly habits for the hatchlings. Hatchlings are small and vulnerable to lights, holes, predators, obstructions, and sandcastles. All these things can cause a delay in the hatchling’s departure from the beach. There have already been several disorientation events this season. A disorientation happens when hatchlings or adults become misdirected by lights and travel landward, instead of seaward - the direction of the water. This puts them in harm’s way. Hatchlings can wander aimlessly on the beach and in the streets, walkways, and parking lots using up vital energy stores that they need to travel out to the relative safety of the sargassum seaweed - a two-day journey for them! On July 5th, CWC turtle patrol volunteers found a disoriented adult loggerhead on the landward side of a house. She had crawled from the beach through a yard and into the street several houses away. She was likely disoriented by the light and noise from celebratory Fourth of July fireworks on the beach. She had been crawling possibly for hours trying to find her way back to the water. The CWC stranding response team quickly mobilized and was able to assess her situation and carry her back to the beach on a stretcher so she could crawl to the water. Special thanks to two gentlemen who assisted us with this. Adult loggerhead sea turtles are over 250 pounds and feisty. Thankfully this situation had a happy ending. A dark beach will go a long way in keeping this from happening again. You can help sea turtles survive by: • Providing a DARK beach - No artificial light reaching or on the beach. • Filling in holes and flattening sandcastles after a day of fun. • Removing furniture, tents, and toys from the beach at sunset. • Cleaning up trash, including food debris and fruit peels, items that attract predators that would also enjoy a hatchling snack! • Spreading the word to others. For more information, please follow Coastal Wildlife Club on Facebook or website www.coastalwildlifeclub.org.
If you come across an injured or dead sea turtle or someone disturbing a turtle nest, call Wildlife Alert: 888•404•3922. Cell phone users can also call *FWC or #FWC or send a text to Tip@MyFWC.com.