Sea Turtle Nesting Season Underway

17 Apr 2023

April 15 marked the beginning of sea turtle nesting season for Sanibel and Captiva.

“The past couple of weeks have been full of supply runs, vehicle maintenance, and volunteer training sessions in preparation for the exciting months ahead,” said SCCF Sea Turtle Technician Carley Nolan. “Finally, early Saturday morning, our program volunteers and staff felt the warm sun on their backs for the first time of the season as they searched the islands for the first sea turtle nest of 2023.”

The earliest recorded sea turtle nest on our beaches was laid by a loggerhead (Caretta caretta) on April 15, 2020. Last year, the first nest of the season on the islands was laid on April 27, so we may be expecting our first nest any day now.

Beginning at sunrise every morning from now to Oct. 31, members of SCCF’s sea turtle team will survey both islands looking for new nests, monitoring existing ones, and collecting inventory data on hatched ones.

”Our team has yet to see any turtle activity so far, but the season typically has a slow start and tends to pick up in May,” Nolan said. “Despite the lack of action, volunteers and staff are very excited to be back surveying the beaches and to experience some normalcy whilst we navigate through the devastation of Hurricane Ian.”

As we progress into the season, please keep these few tips in mind:

  • Pick up trash you find on the beach or brought with you
  • Be conscious of light exposure (no flashlights, close your curtains/blinds, turn off porch/outdoor lighting after dark, eliminate flash photography, etc.)
  • Fill in holes, knock down sandcastles, and remove all beach furniture (umbrellas, chairs, volleyball nets, tents, etc.)

For more information on how you can help, visit sancaplifesavers.org.