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Nine sea turtle nests hatch on islands

By Staff | Jun 26, 2020

SCCF SCCF volunteer Joan Rogers conducts the season's first loggerhead nest inventory on Captiva.

On June 24, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Coastal Wildlife Director Kelly Sloan reported that there have been nine hatches of sea turtle nests between Sanibel and Captiva.

One week ago, the first loggerhead nest inventory of the season was conducted on Captiva. Only 27 hatchlings emerged successfully from that first hatch.

“Today, we had a nest with 105 hatchlings that emerged,” Sloan said.

Sea turtle nests have an incubation period of about two months. The average clutch size is 110 eggs, but there is a lot of variability from nest to nest. Only an estimated one in 1,000 to 10,000 will survive to adulthood.

The natural obstacles faced by young and adult sea turtles are staggering, but it is the increasing threats caused by humans that are driving them to extinction. Today, all sea turtles found in U.S. waters are federally listed as endangered, except for the loggerhead which is listed as threatened.

Nests typically start hatching in July and the hatching season continues into September or October. Nest counts surpassed 2019 counts last week.

As of June 24, the nest count for the islands combined was 595, with 181 loggerhead nests and two leatherback nests on Captiva; 100 loggerhead nests, three green nests and one leatherback nest on the east end of Sanibel; and 305 loggerhead nests and three leatherback nests on the west end of Sanibel.

To keep up with the islands’ nesting season on a daily basis, visit seaturtle.org/nestdb. To report issues with nests, nesting turtles, or hatchlings, contact the SCCF’s Sea Turtle Hotline at 978-728-3663.