Loggerhead Nest Boil Captured on Video
SCCF Coastal Wildlife Director Kelly Sloan was on beach patrol on Captiva Island when she had the rare opportunity to see and film a loggerhead sea turtle nest just beginning to boil, or erupt on June 24, 2020.
The screen on the nest is to protect the hatchlings, which have an estimated 1 in 1,000 chance of surviving to maturity. As you can see, the size of the holes allows the hatchlings to climb through and then, traverse the sandy terrain as they scurry to the Gulf of Mexico.
“The screen on top of the nest is to discourage predation. They have been very effective in lowering nest depredation rates on Sanibel and Captiva,” said Sloan.
Predation of sea turtles by crabs, birds, fish, sharks, and mammals is a natural part of the food chain. However, predators may sometimes become so proficient at finding and destroying nests that they threaten all the nests on a beach. Eggs and hatchlings on the beaches of Sanibel and Captiva are victims of coyotes, ghost crabs, fire ants, and birds.
SCCF Sea Turtle Program staff and volunteers help to control mammalian predation by placing a self-releasing screen over threatened nests. The screens are large enough to keep predators out, yet allow hatchlings to escape from the nest without assistance.
Mammalian predation often increases where trash has accumulated on the beach. An easy way to avoid attracting predators is to keep our beaches free of trash.
“Thanks to all of you who help protect our hatchlings by turning off all lights visible from the beach, removing beach furniture, filling in holes, and keeping our beaches free of litter,” said Sloan. “With the 4th of July holiday weekend coming up, it’s especially important to remember that we share the beaches with these ancient animals.”
Learn more at http://www.sccf.org/.
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To report any issues with nests, nesting turtles, or hatchlings on Sanibel or Captiva, please call SCCF’s SEA TURTLE HOTLINE: 978-728-3663.