Sea Turtle Nesting Winding Down
Nesting season is officially slowing down. There were three new loggerhead nests across Sanibel and Captiva in the last two weeks, bringing our total number of new loggerhead nests for August to six.
“Although there has been less activity overall, we expect to see additional crawls and nests from green sea turtles as their nesting season continues through September,” said SCCF Sea Turtle Intern Kristen Gould.
To date, 441 nests have hatched, and 24,899 total hatchlings have emerged and headed towards the Gulf. Of these, 353 have been green sea turtles. The remaining 24,546 were loggerheads.
“The success rate of hatchlings is about 1 in 1,000, meaning we expect roughly 25 of these turtles to survive through adulthood,” Gould said. “Sea turtles account for these odds by laying large clutches of eggs and nesting multiple times per season.”
Despite having record numbers of overall nests laid this year, the islands’ hatch success rate has been lower than usual, averaging 35.9% and 14.9% for Sanibel and Captiva, respectively. For comparison, 2022 hatch success rates averaged 55.5% on Sanibel and 31.8% on Captiva. There are a number of reasons why this could be happening, including depredations by coyotes and a number of other factors, Gould explained.
“The high temperatures this year may be having an impact on hatch success, but we don’t have the data to confirm this yet,” she said. “There is still time for the remaining 757 nests to hatch, and we remain hopeful that we will see more successful hatches before the season is over!”