Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Entangled loggerhead turtle missing near Longboat

Mote Marine Laboratory is asking those on Longboat and surrounding areas to look out for the turtle.

  • By
  • | 3:00 p.m. July 10, 2017
File photo
File photo
  • Longboat Key
  • News
  • Share

Mote Marine Laboratory is still searching for the potentially entangled female loggerhead turtle that went missing on Thursday, July 6.

On Friday, July 7, Mote posted on Facebook asking those on Longboat Key and surrounding areas to keep their eyes out for the turtle. Mote’s Sea Turtle Patrol was searching for new nests on July 6 when members found tracks indicating that a turtle had been entangled in beach furniture.

Mote staff saw the people who owned the beach furniture, and they confirmed that their missing item was a pink beach chair with a metal frame. The tracks were found on the Manatee County end of Longboat Key.

As of Monday, July 10, neither the turtle nor the chair had been found.

Mote’s Sea Turtle Patrol and the Longboat Key Turtle Watch walk the entirety of Longboat Key every morning looking for new nests. Because the tracks found only go to the water, Mote is unsure of what happened to the turtle once it reached water.

“It could potentially be fatal for her,” Mote staff biologist Melissa Bernhard said.

Because sea turtles need to surface to breathe, the chair could cause the turtle to drown.

“They’re capable of holding their breath for some period of time, but it’s just a matter of if it completely weighed her down or if it’s just making her take breaths more frequently,” Bernhard said.

Bernhard urges boaters to be on the lookout too.  If boaters see a pink chair on the surface of the water, a turtle could be attached to it, she said.

On Sunday, July 9, Mote’s patrol found a second set of tracks from a turtle that had been entangled. The incident also occurred on Longboat Key in Manatee County.

However, unlike the case from Thursday, the turtle freed itself before going into the water. A beach chair was found on the water line.

Bernhard said similar situations happen on Lido, Siesta and Casey keys as well.

“Even though the events happened on Longboat, it’s not specifically a Longboat problem she said.

If you see the missing turtle, call Mote’s Stranding Investigations Program at 941-988-0212.

This story has been updated from its previous version from Friday, July 7.


Related Articles

  • May 7, 2014
New to the nest