Stay in the know about wildlife, water quality, and ecosystems on Sanibel and Captiva Islands and in Southwest Florida

Over 2.2K Sea Turtle Hatchlings And Counting

July 9, 2024
Hatchlings X2

The 2024 sea turtle nesting season on Sanibel and Captiva Islands is in full swing!

It’s a crucial time of year to turn off or shield all lights visible from the beach after 9 p.m. to prevent the disorientation of hatchlings with artificial lighting. Hatchlings naturally detect the moonlit horizon to find their way to the water. Artificial lights can cause them to head the wrong direction and die due to dehydration, heat exhaustion, or encounters with predators, humans, and cars.

As of July 9, SCCF has documented 723 sea turtle nests and 2,204 emerged hatchlings on the islands this year. There have also been 1,401 false crawls.


  • 721 loggerhead (Caretta caretta) nests
  • 1 leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) nest
  • 1 green turtle (Chelonia mydas) nest

Emerged Hatchlings

  • 2,164 loggerheads
  • 40 leatherbacks

False Crawls

  • 1,398 loggerhead false crawls
  • 2 green turtle false crawls
  • 1 leatherback false crawl

In 2023, SCCF documented 1,201 sea turtle nests on Sanibel and Captiva (1,177 loggerhead and 24 green turtle), 27,368 emerged hatchlings, and 3,511 false crawls (3,470 loggerhead and 41 green turtle). Despite a record number of loggerhead nests last year, the islands’ hatchling counts were some of the lowest in years.

In 2022, there were 786 nests (769 loggerhead and 18 green turtle), 35,803 emerged hatchlings, and 1,022 false crawls (1,011 loggerhead, 10 green turtle, 1 unknown).

Help Sea Turtles

Remember to do your part to help nesting sea turtles and hatchlings this season by:

  • Turning off all of your lights and flashlights near the beach at night
  • Removing trash and equipment from the beach
  • Filling holes, flattening sand castles, and removing any other obstruction that could pose an obstacle to sea turtles
  • Respecting posted nesting areas

To report any problems with nests, sea turtles, hatchlings, or lighting or furniture compliance, please call the SCCF Sea Turtle Hotline at 978-728-3663. 


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