Photo by Shane Antalic
Sea turtle nesting on Sanibel and Captiva Islands has dramatically increased over the past six decades, thanks to local conservation efforts to help care and protect Southwest Florida’s coastal ecosystems.
Here’s some fun info from our friends at Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF):
27,743 sea turtle hatchlings have emerged on Sanibel and Captiva since April. Ever wonder where they go once hitting the tide?
Loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta), the most common species on our beaches, spend the beginning of their lives swimming out into the Gulf of Mexico and joining the Loop Current, where they’re often transported east into the Atlantic Ocean. After 7-15 years old, they migrate to foraging areas nearer to shore, where they continue to grow and develop before maturing to breeding age (anywhere around 25-35 years old for females!)
Green turtles (Chelonia mydas), which also nest on Sanibel and Captiva, have a similar life history, but with a more specific destination in mind. Some green turtle hatchlings coming from Florida will stay in the Gulf of Mexico, while the majority tend to gather in a certain region of the North Atlantic that has abundant Sargassum algae for foraging and warm ocean currents.
For more information about sea turtles, click here!