Sea Turtle Activity Update

Aug 27, 2018Uncategorized

One of my last posts included some key information about the nesting, hatchling, and survival rates of the Loggerhead Turtle population in Southwest Florida, Collier County in particular. This month we will look at the number of nests year 2017 over year 2018, the number of correlated false crawls, and how many nests hatched. Please note that false crawls occur when the turtles crawl up onto the land and return to the sea without creating a nest or laying any eggs. There is little understanding why this happens and thus it is important to continue to tabulate how many there are year over year. This anomaly is under investigation.


AS OF AUGUST 20, 2018



Nests False Crawls Hatched Nests
This Year Last Year This Year Last Year This Year Last Year Disoriented
Barefoot 243 179 247 276 111 70 1
Delnor Wiggins 60 40 45 91 29 4 0
Vanderbilt 197 212 157 317 97 84 2
Parkshore 170 161 149 171 81 78 6
City of Naples 221 204 127 156 100 77 5
Keewaydin Island 356 433 433 518 142 53 0
Sea Oat Island 9 24 3 14 4 1 0
Marco Island 68 121 119 202 28 70 7
Kice & Cape Romano 169 135 177 127 69 43 0
10,000 Islands 91 125 143 116 51 51 0
Collier County Totals 1584 1634 1600 1988 712 531 21



The chart above compares the various Loggerhead Turtle Nesting and Hatchling areas of Collier County from 2017 thru late summer 2018. As you can see 5 of the 10 areas saw an increase in the number of nests and the other 5 declined in number of nests from last year.  False crawls declined in all areas except Kice & Cape Romano and the 10,000 Islands. All areas reported an increase in Hatched Nests this year, many sharply. About half of the areas also reported some disoriented turtles post hatching. Disorientation can occur because of light from the shore. Turtles use the moonlight to find their way back to the water after hatching. If they turn instead and head for shore they risk dehydration and death. The thwart this possibility we ask that homes along the shore reduce the amount of artificial light, both inside and outside of the home, in the evening hours during turtle nesting season. (May thru October)

A joint study conducted between the College of Charleston and North Carolina State University held that cooler sand temperatures can increase crawl time from nest to ocean meaning that they are moving at a slower pace. It was also noted that they swam slower and/or required more strokes to make certain measurable distances once they got to the water.  Therefore, cooler sand temperatures in nesting areas may contribute to fewer turtles surviving post hatching which diminishes the overall population counts.  Weather is a factor in the overall survival rate of these Loggerhead turtles and one factor that we cannot change.


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