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Cases of Disoriented Nesting Turtles on the Rise

Jul 15, 2013

It's the middle of turtle nesting season, as adult turtles are coming ashore to lay their eggs. But Sarasota and Manatee beaches are seeing a high number of turtles getting lost.

Mote Marine Lab Sea Turtle Patrol has recorded 23 instances of disoriented adult turtles so far - that means turtles are straying away from their nesting beaches. That number is more than double the ten observed last year and the 15 in 2011. Mote patrols the beaches from Venice to Longboat Key.

More nesting turtles are getting disoriented this season than in previous years.
Credit morguefile.com

Meanwhile, Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch director Suzi Fox said six such instances have happened on Anna Maria Island Beach in Manatee County. She said it's just not normal for turtles to leave their nesting beaches.

"One trend that we're seeing is in these areas that it's happening, the nesting beaches themselves are extremely narrow," Fox said.

She said they hope to replenish the beaches with more sand by the time this nesting season is over.

Fox also suggests some tips for helping nesting turtles:

  • turn off porchlights or any other lights including flashlights near the beach May-October at night
  • if you're watching a turtle, keep your distance and stay quiet, don't photograph using flashing lights
  • keep all trash and beach furniture off the beach at night.