While assisting with search and rescue efforts on Sanibel, SCCF staff members sighted several turtle species post-Hurricane Ian, including a peninsula cooter (Pseudemys peninsular), pictured above, a Florida box turtle (Terrapene bauri), a striped mud turtle (Kinosternon baurii), and multiple gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus).
“These survivors show that even after a drastic event like this, many wildlife species can endure,” said SCCF Wildlife and Habitat Management Director Chris Lechowicz. His team will be investigating the effects of saltwater intrusion in freshwater wetlands. “Some species will benefit, some will struggle, and others will remain relatively unaffected,” he said. Several Florida softshell turtles (Apalone ferox) have been found deceased near or on roads, likely from saltwater intrusion.