It’s turtle time! Three nests so far

It’s turtle time! Three nests so far

■ BY SUE ERWIN

As of Friday, May 4 there were three sea turtle nests documented on the island – all of them Caretta caretta (Loggerhead) nests.

There was one false crawl recorded.

The Boca Grande Sea Turtle Association patrol members have been busy picking up trash from local beach zones during their morning rounds.

The Boca Grande Sea Turtle Association volunteers want to remind everyone to be respectful of the nest areas. If you’re walking on the beach at night, don’t use a flashlight unless it’s a turtle-safe red light. Always remove beach furniture when you are leaving the seaside and fill in any holes around you with sand. A hatchling could fall into a hole, get trapped and become easy prey for birds and other predators.

On average, sea turtles lay 110 eggs in a nest and average between two and eight nests each season. The eggs will hatch in 45 to 60 days after a nest is covered. Only one in 1,000 hatchlings will survive to adulthood. They can live to be more than 100 years old. Hatchlings face many predators, both on their way to the water and once they get into the ocean. On the beach, birds, crabs, ants, bobcats, raccoons and coyotes and even unleashed dogs are common threats to nests and newly hatched turtles.

If you find hatchlings on the beach, it is recommended you let them crawl to the ocean on their own, maintain a safe distance, and make sure lights are off so hatchlings don’t become disoriented. Do not remove them from the nest. If they are wandering away from the ocean or found during the day with birds circling, call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at (888) 404-FWCC for assistance.

The BGSTA is actively looking for volunteers. Training and supplies are provided.

For more information, go to facebook.com/seaturtleawareness to find out more details.