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SCCF captures loggerhead nest boil on video

By Staff | Jul 1, 2020

SCCF/KELLY SLOAN

Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Coastal Wildlife Director Kelly Sloan was on beach patrol on Captiva on June 14 when she came upon the rare opportunity to see and film a loggerhead sea turtle nest just beginning to boil, or erupt.

The screen on the nest is to protect the hatchlings, which have an estimated one in 1,000 chance of surviving to maturity. The size of the holes allows the hatchlings to climb through and then traverse the sandy terrain as they scurry to the Gulf of Mexico.

“The screen on top of the nest is to discourage predation,” she said. “They have been very effective in lowering nest depredation rates on Sanibel and Captiva.”

Predation of sea turtles by crabs, birds, fish, sharks and mammals is a natural part of the food chain. However, predators may sometimes become so proficient at finding and destroying nests that they threaten all the nests on a beach. Eggs and hatchlings on the islands’ beaches are victims of coyotes, ghost crabs, fire ants and other birds.

SCCF Sea Turtle Program staff and volunteers help to control mammalian predation by placing a self-releasing screen over threatened nests. The screens are large enough to keep predators out, yet allow hatchlings to escape from the nest without assistance.

Mammalian predation often increases where trash has accumulated on the beach. An easy way to avoid attracting predators is to keep the beaches free of trash.

“Thanks to all of you who help protect our hatchlings by turning off all lights visible from the beach, removing beach furniture, filling in holes, and keeping our beaches free of litter,” Sloan said. “With the Fourth of July holiday weekend coming up, it’s especially important to remember that we share the beaches with these ancient animals.”

To watch the video, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvNSqjsAuJM&feature=youtu.be.

To report issues with sea turtle nests, nesting turtles, or hatchlings on Sanibel or Captiva, contact the SCCF Sea Turtle Hotline at 978-728-3663.

For more on SCCF’s program, visit www.sccf.org/our-work/sea-turtles. People can also follow at www.facebook.com/pg/SanibelCaptivaConservationFoundation or on Instagram @sccf_swfl.