Anna Maria Island Prides itself on caring for the sea turtle population. Anna Maria Turtle Watch has coordinated conservation efforts for 12 miles of Manatee County shoreline. In three decades, they monitored 7339 turtle activities, protected 4454 nests, 301,694 turtle eggs, and watched 271,680 hatchlings depart to become a future generation of loggerheads that will return to the region as they reach maturity — in about 30 years. Because of the new procedures and Nesting rules, we have had a dramatic increase in the Loggerhead turtle nests and population. Educate your children on the many facets of the Florida sea turtle,while at your Anna Maria vacation cottage, with this kid friendly PDF. Print it and read it and share it with their friends.
Turtle Season on Florida’s Gulf Coast runs from May 1 to October 1, each year. It is against the law to disturb or touch nesting Sea Turtles, their nest or their eggs. Hatchlings use the moonlight as a guide to find the water. So, make sure your lights aren’t visible from the beach or the hatchlings could mistake it for moonlight. If you’re using a flashlight on the beach at night, add a red filter so that you don’t disorient nearby turtles. Turn off the flash on your camera. The natural light is already perfect for pictures and it doesn’t disturb the turtles. Please keep your cell phone lights away as well. If you are staying directly on the beach, keep all seaward windows covered and turn off any lighting that can be seen from the beach.
You can learn more about sea turtles and their hatchlings on a guided tour. Call 248-982-5600 to reserve your spot on a tour.
Most importantly, have fun during turtle season. It’s a key part of the ecosystem on the Beach but it’s also one of the most exciting times of the year. Enjoy it!
In Florida, when the Female sea turtles come ashore to nest, they can lay several nests during one season and only nests every two or three years. The hard process of nesting takes hours. A turtle must drag her massive weight out of the water to the dunes. She uses her back flippers to dig a hole and deposits about one hundred rubbery eggs, each the size of a ping-pong ball. The turtle disguises the nest by flinging sand over it. Once she leaves the nest, she never returns.
Green Turtle ~ Named for the Green color of its body fat, this turtle is listed as endangered in Florida. Most green turtle’s nest in the Caribbean, but up to 2000 nests can be found in Florida each year. For centuries, green turtles were hunted for their meat that was made into soup. Hunting and egg gathering greatly reduced their number. Green turtles graze on the vast beds of sea grasses found throughout the tropics and are the only sea turtles that eat plants. Some travel over a thousand miles to nest on islands in the mid-Atlantic.
Hawksbill Turtle ~ This turtle is a relatively small turtle, and has been hunted to the brink of extinction for its beautiful shell. Once relatively common in Florida, these turtles now rarely nest here. They feed on sponges and other invertebrates and tend to nest on small, isolated beaches.
Leatherback Turtle ~ This endangered turtle is the largest and most active of the sea turtles. Up to eight feet in length, these huge turtles have a rubbery dark shell marked by seven narrow ridges that run the length of their back. Many travel thousands of miles and dive thousands of feet deep. They also venture into much colder water than any other sea turtle. These turtles feed on jellyfish and soft-bodied animals that would appear to provide very little nutrition for such huge animals. Ingestion of plastic bags and egg collecting are reasons for mortality and population declines. About 200 leatherback nests are recorded in Florida each year.
Kemp’s Ridley ~ The rarest and smallest of all the sea turtles, this endangered turtle feeds in the coastal waters of Florida on blue crabs, other crabs and shrimp. They nest on a single stretch of beach on the Gulf Coast of Mexico.
Loggerhead Turtle ~ This is the most common sea turtle in Florida. It is classified as a threatened, but not endangered species. Named because of its large head, which can be ten inches wide, it has powerful jaws used to crush the clams, crabs and encrusting animals on which it feeds. As many as 68,000 loggerhead nests have been found in
Florida each year.
Summer visitors can sign up for the local Turtle Talks, Learn fun facts about nesting locations and details, as well as a 30 minute presentation with funny stories and photos. Receive temporary tattoos, handouts, and AMITW T-shirts, stickers, transfers and ball caps with our brand spanking new embroidered Turtle Life logo. for a donation. Join in every Tuesday morning at 10 AM, rain or shine, during June and July at CrossPoint Fellowship Church 8605 Gulf Drive Holmes Beach.
If you find a dead , sick or injured Sea Turtle call 941-778-5638 with the location and other info. If you cant reach us call FWC hotline 888-404-3922
If you find an unmarked nest
call 941-778-5638 with the exact location.
Book your Paradise accommodations at BeachRentals.mobi/ and learn more about Florida’s natural Wildlife and sea turtle preservation. Maybe you can find an undiscovered nest too.
Other Photos from AMI Turtle Watch and Clearwater Aquarium
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