While walking the beach Monday, May 4, Mote Marine Laboratory volunteers uncovered the first loggerhead turtle nest of the season on Longboat Key.
The nest, however, wasn't the first nest laid this season in Sarasota County. On April 25, a female Kemp's ridley turtle was spotted laying her nest during the day on Casey Key beach. Ninety-five percent of Kemp's ridley turtle nests are laid in Tamaulipas, Mexico. Mote's sea-turtle conservation and research program will continue to monitor the nest daily.
Volunteers with Mote, along with members of the Longboat Key Turtle Watch, monitor Longboat Key's beaches daily during turtle-nesting season, which runs from May 1 to Oct. 31. Approximately 90% of the loggerhead turtle nests are found in Florida. Last year, 1,148 loggerhead nests and 950 false crawls were recorded in Sarasota County and on Longboat Key, compared with 738 nests and 1,108 false crawls in 2007.
Here are the Do's and Don'ts of turtle-nesting season, courtesy of Mote Marine Laboratory. Visit www.mote.org for more information.
— If you encounter a nesting turtle, remain quiet and observe from a distance
— Shield or turn off outdoor lights that are visible on the beach from May through October
— Close drapes after dark and put beach furniture far back from the water
— Fill in holes that may entrap hatchlings on their way to the water
— Place trash in its proper place
— Approach nesting turtles or hatchlings, make noise or shine lights at turtles
— Use flashlights or fishing lamps on the beach
— Encourage a turtle to move while nesting or pick up hatchlings that have emerged
— Use fireworks on the beach
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