Today marks the start of the 2016 sea turtle season for Sanibel Island and Captiva Island. Sea turtle season continues through October and during this time we expect to see hundreds of sea turtle nests.
Each morning nests are staked off by a large network of volunteers in order to monitor and protect them. Sanibel and Captiva provide great nesting habitat for sea turtles, so it is important we keep the beaches pristine and safe for their use. There are several things you can do to help keep the beaches sea turtle friendly.
- Respect all staked nests.
- Turn off all lights — Nesting females and hatchlings primarily emerge after dark so remember to turn off all lights. Sea turtles use the brightest horizon to navigate towards the water. Any artificial lighting will cause confusion and steer turtles in the wrong direction. This includes beachfront lighting, flash lights, flash photography, and even iPhones.
- Remove all beach furniture and toys — Clear everything off the beach from 9 pm – 7 am. Obstacles on the beach can cause nesting females and hatchlings to become entangled.
- Fill in all holes on the beach — if you dug a hole on the beach please fill it in. Nesting females and hatchlings can fall into holes, causing them to be venerable to predators.
- Never approach a nesting sea turtle — if approached the sea turtle will likely abandon her nesting attempt.