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Sea Turtles

2013 Sea Turtle Nesting Stats

We said the same about last season, but…Whew….what a season! This summer was the third highest nesting year on record for Sanibel and Captiva. Sanibel finished out the 2013 nesting season with 328 loggerhead nests, 21 green turtle nests, and 511 false crawls (509 loggerhead and 2 green). Captiva had 132 loggerhead nests, 2 green turtle nests, and 80 false crawls (78 loggerhead and 2 green).

Green turtle nesting was up statewide this year. While the final numbers are not in, yet, the 2013 nesting season appears to be the best on record for this species. Sanibel and Captiva were no exception. Our previous record for green turtle nesting was eight nests (7 on Sanibel and 1 on Captiva). During the 2013 nesting season we documented 23 nests (21 on Sanibel and 2 on Captiva) on the Islands!

Unlike last year, which suffered from the impacts of two tropical storms, hatch success this year was great! Sanibel and Captiva had 258 and 119 hatches respectively. This summer our beaches produced 26,641 live hatchlings!

 Sea Turtle Nesting Stats
as of October 11, 2013

False Crawls
 Sanibel East End
 57 114 44
 Sanibel West End  292 397 206
130 82 119
 TOTAL 479

The first green sea turtle nest of the 2013 season was on Captiva the week ending June 14; almost all nests on the islands are loggerhead.  As of July 19,  we have borken our record for green sea turtle nests on the islands:  of the totals listed above, there are 9 green nests on Sanibel and 2 on Captiva.

Tropical Storm Andrea (June 6 - 7)  impacted the islands' sea turtle nests, with 46 nests washed over on Sanibel (14 nests lost, all on the west end); and 15 nests washed over on Captiva (3 nests lost).   

SCCF is partnering this summer with Florida Atlantic University on a study of male sea turtles.  Learn more...

1996 to 2012 stats

Please do not disturb nesting sea turtles. There have been reports of several nesting attempts disturbed by onlookers. If a turtle fails after several nesting attempts, she will eject her eggs into the Gulf, so failed attempts -- false crawls -- are serious.  Learn more...

In 2009, a leatherback sea turtle nested on Sanibel, the first known documented leatherback nest in Lee and Collier counties.

Keep up to date with the sea turtle program at our blog.

Sea turtles are among the world’s oldest creatures. These ancient reptiles have long fascinated people around the world. On Sanibel and Captiva, where the beaches provide a subtropical nesting area for threatened loggerhead and endangered green turtles, more than 100 island residents volunteer each summer as part of the Conservation Foundation’s Sea Turtle Research and Monitoring Program. The program operates under a permit from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Each day during nesting season, May to October, the 18 miles of Gulf beaches from the Sanibel Lighthouse to the tip of Captiva are checked beginning at dawn. Nests are identified and marked for monitoring and protection. Later in the season new hatches are evaluated and recorded. The statewide collection of data helps inform management decisions to help in the protection of sea turtles.

Among other components of SCCF’s sea turtle program are projects ensuring that beach habitat is suitable for nesting and the co-ordination of data collection on local sea turtle strandings.

You can contact the Sea Turtle office by e-mail:

A loggerhead burying her nest
 A rare daytime hatch.  Note the hatchling crawling to the right
Nests are dug 3 days after they hatch by an SCCF permittee, who counts the shells and rescues any stragglers.