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Sea Turtle Nesting in Sarasota County

Southwest Florida is one of the few places in the world where sea turtles nest regularly. Every year, thousands of loggerhead, green, and other types of sea turtles make their way to the sandy beaches of the region to lay their eggs. This is a spectacular natural event that attracts tourists from all over the world.

During the nesting season, which typically lasts from May to October, sea turtles emerge from the water at night to find a suitable spot to lay their eggs. Female sea turtles make their way up the beach, dig a hole with their flippers, and lay approximately 100 eggs before covering them with sand. The eggs incubate in the sand for about 60 days before the hatchlings emerge and scramble back towards the sea. Only a small fraction of the hatchlings will survive to adulthood, but those that do will contribute to the survival of their species.

Sadly, sea turtle populations worldwide are threatened by a variety of factors, including climate change, pollution, and destruction of habitat. However, Southwest Florida is one of the regions where conservation efforts have helped to increase sea turtle populations. If you visit during the nesting season, be sure to follow the guidelines established by local authorities for observing these beautiful creatures. By doing so, you're helping ensure that future generations can continue to marvel at this fascinating sight.

Some of the guidelines include:

  • Avoid using bright lights or flash photography when on the beach at night, as this can disorient nesting sea turtles and hatchlings.
  • Ensure that all beach furniture (e.g. chairs, umbrellas) are removed from the beach at night, as they can pose a danger to nesting sea turtles and their hatchlings.
  • Do not interfere with or disturb nesting sea turtles or their nests.
  • Avoid using fireworks or other loud noises that can scare nesting sea turtles and their hatchlings.

It's important to remember that sea turtles are protected by both state and federal laws, so it's crucial to follow these guidelines and respect their habitat while visiting Florida's beaches during turtle season.

 

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