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Longboat Key Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016 3 years ago

Turtle eggs begin to hatch in record-breaking season

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Disorientation remains a big concern for new hatchlings.
by: Katie Johns Community Editor

As of today, at least one sea turtle nest has hatched on each Mote-monitored beach, a distance that spreads 35 miles.

This year saw more turtle nests than any previous year. As of July 30, Longboat Key had 1,100 nests, Lido Beach had 157, Siesta Key had 410, Casey Key had 1,938 and Venice had 588. That brings the total to 4,193 total. Last year’s total was 2,802.

As the eggs begin to hatch, Mote reminds beach goers to keep the beaches safe for the baby turtles to make their way to the water. Female sea turtles and the hatchlings follow the brightest horizon to the water. It’s easy for light from a waterfront property to disorient sea turtles away from water and toward roads, yards and swimming pools. Not only do disoriented turtles travel away from the water, but they run out of energy once they do reach water, which is incredibly harmful to their survival. Once in the water, hatchlings need to be able to swim to find food and shelter.  So far, Mote has rescued or received 700 hatchlings for reasons including disorientation.

In order to help prevent future disorientations and other harmful consequences, the Town of Longboat Key strengthened its Marine Turtle Protection Ordinance on July 5. The new ordinance will reinforce the management of artificial lights and obstacles, such as beach chairs,  that can trap turtles.

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