Sanibel/Captiva Beaches: Turtle Baby Nursery

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I saw it on my morning Captiva Island beach walk. The two tracks formed a V shape from the water; evidence that a female loggerhead sea turtle had made her way to higher ground to lay her eggs (around 120 of them) during the night and returned to the sea before daylight.

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In Florida from May 1st to October 31st it’s loggerhead turtle nesting time on 18 miles of Sanibel and Captiva Island Gulf beachfront. The islands’ optimum subtropical weather provides a perfect nursery. Beaches are regularly patrolled for signs of turtle nests and then marked off. Disturbing the nests results in a hefty fine.

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After sixty days of incubation the hatchlings leave the nest making their way at night under a bright moon following the light to the water. Local ordinances encourage island residents to keep  exterior lighting dimmed and pointed away from the beach to not disturb the hatchlings’ sense of direction. If they survive to adulthood, a loggerhead has an average lifespan of 50 years.