One Sea Turtle Nest Left As Season Comes to a Close
With sea turtle nesting season officially ending on Oct. 31, all of the nests on Captiva have already hatched and there’s only one nest left on Sanibel.
It was made by a green turtle, which isn’t all that surprising since they tend to nest later in the summer than some other species.
“This nest was discovered on a morning survey in August and was one of the final few nests laid this season,” said Coastal Wildlife Director Kelly Sloan. “This is not uncommon, as the green turtle nesting season occurs slightly later in the year compared to loggerheads, the species which lays the vast majority of the nests on Sanibel and Captiva.”
Nesting season for green turtles typically runs from about June through September, whereas loggerheads nest from April through August. Green turtle nesting in Florida seems to follow a biennial pattern, where females migrate from their foraging grounds to mate and lay eggs usually every other year. They’ve had solid nesting success on the islands in recent years.
“The 2019 season was a big one for green turtles, with 32 nests laid on our islands — 30 on Sanibel and 2 on Captiva,” Sloan said. “Since 2019 was an elevated year for green nests and they typically nest every other year, a lower nesting year was expected in 2020. This season, only 5 green nests on Sanibel were documented.”
Four of these nests have already hatched, producing 201 green hatchlings! The green hatchling photo above was taken by SCCF Volunteer Karl Werner.
“We look forward to the outcome of the last green nest this season and are hopeful for another big nesting season next year,” Sloan said.
The line graph below shows the record-breaking number of loggerhead nests that were laid on Sanibel and Captiva this summer compared to previous years.