Credit photo above: Marc Ellis/H2O Pictures
2018 Sea Turtle Nesting
Here are preliminary counts of sea turtle nests per week on Longboat Key through Venice, Florida. A final count will be posted after nesting season is complete on Oct. 31 and data have been reviewed thoroughly. Note: Data sheets show counts by week for 2018, along with counts for the same weeks in 2017 and 2016. "FC" stands for "false crawl," which means that a female sea turtle crawled onto the beach and returned to the ocean without leaving a nest.
- April 22-April 28 (First nests arrived before nesting season officially started on May 1.)
- April 29-May 5
- May 6-12
- May 13-19
- May 20-26
- May 27-June 2
- June 3-9
- June 10-16
TIPS FOR THE PUBLIC
Boating, Beach Lighting and More
During nesting season, it is important to keep local waters and beaches sea-turtle friendly. Sea turtles are swimming just offshore to mate before the females come ashore to nest, juvenile turtles are feeding along the Gulf Coast, and by early summer the first hatchlings will venture into Gulf waters. So far this year, Mote has recovered multiple sea turtles suspected to have been struck by boats. On the nesting beaches, light from waterfront properties can disorient nesting female turtles and their young, which emerge at night and use dim natural light to find the sea. Also, beach furniture, trash and other obstacles can impede sea turtles and their young. Mote encourages coastal residents and visitors to follow the turtle-friendly tips below during nesting season, May 1 - Oct. 31.
On the Shore
- If you encounter a nesting turtle or hatchlings, remain quiet and observe from a distance
- Shield or turn off outdoor lights that are visible on the beach from May through October
- Close drapes after dark and put beach furniture far back from the water
- Fill in holes that may entrap hatchlings on their way to the water
- Approach nesting turtles or hatchlings, make noise, or shine lights at turtles
- Use flashlights or fishing lamps on the beach
- Encourage a turtle to move while nesting or pick up hatchlings that have emerged and are heading for the water
- Use fireworks on the beach
On the Water
- Follow Coast Guard-approved safe boating guidelines and use vigilance to avoid striking sea turtles and other large marine life.
- Be sure to stow trash and line when under way. Marine debris that accidentally blows overboard or out of a truck can become ingested by or entangled around marine life.
- Wear polarized sunglasses to better see marine life in your path.
If you see a sick, injured or stranded sea turtle in Sarasota or Manatee county waters, contact Mote Marine Laboratory’s Stranding Investigations Program at 941-988-0212. Outside of Sarasota or Manatee counties, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) at 888-404-FWCC (3922).
If you suspect that someone is tampering with a sea turtle nest, harassing a sea turtle or has possession of a sea turtle or any of its parts, please call FWC, call your local sheriff’s department and/or call Mote's Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program at 941-388-4331.If you find sea turtle hatchlings that are not on the beach or are headed away from the ocean, call Mote’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program for instructions. Put rescued hatchlings into a bucket with a layer of damp sand and cover the bucket with a towel. Do not put hatchlings in water or take them into air conditioning. Hatchlings heading towards the ocean should be left alone. Sea turtles are protected under federal law and any harassment or interference with a sea turtle, living or dead, is subject to penalty.