BY SUE ERWIN – As of press time, the Boca Grande Sea Turtle Association reported 22 Caretta caretta (loggerhead) turtle nests on the island. There were 21 false crawls reported. A false crawl occurs when a sea turtle climbs to the beach without digging a nest or laying eggs.
Please take your trash with you when visiting the beach. Patrol members have been picking up large amounts of litter from the beach daily. One volunteer found numerous cans and bottles buried in the sand.
Also, remember to fill in any holes in the sand. Some mother turtles are small enough to fall in the holes, and their hatchlings most definitely can.
Bobcat tracks were spotted in zone 4 and zone 6, a possible reason for so many false crawls. The bobcat apparently scared the turtles back into the water before they could leave a nest.
Residents and visitors need to remove all beach furniture at night, as turtles may become trapped in furniture. Bright lights can misdirect and disturb nesting sea turtles and their hatchlings, so beachgoers should avoid using flashlights or cellphones at night. Turning out lights or closing curtains and shades in buildings along the beach after dark will ensure that nesting turtles are not disturbed or disoriented as well.
By taking these actions, Florida’s beachfront residents and visitors can help to conserve the loggerhead, leatherback and green sea turtles that nest on the state’s coastlines.
Other ways to help sea turtles include properly disposing of fishing line to avoid entanglements and reporting those that are sick, injured, entangled or dead to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) or #FWC or *FWC on a cellphone.
Go to MyFWC.com/SeaTurtle for more information on Florida’s sea turtles, and click on “Research,” then “Nesting” for more data on sea turtle nesting.
Turtle patrollers help keep the beach clean, flat and turtle friendly among other important duties. They also get out to enjoy our beautiful beach at one of the most beautiful times of the day.
If you’re interested in being part of the turtle patrol program, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or search for the organization on Facebook.
In photo, just one day’s worth of trash in one zone, most of which was buried in the sand. Photo submitted