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Animals

Sea Turtle Nesting

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Sea Turtle Nesting

In addition to our sea turtle rehabilitation work, we also are honored to have been selected by Pinellas County to monitor nearly 26 miles of Pinellas County's coast line and report on nesting activity. The combination of releasing injured and sick turtles back into the wild while ensuring as many hatchlings as possible enter the Gulf is our way of protecting these species from extinction. Our sea turtle nesting work involves early morning patrols to locate new nesting sites and late night patrols to check existing nests for hatchlings. The morning patrols are usually done by staff, interns and volunteers who are trained to recognize the tracks left behind by the nesting females. Once we find these tracks, we locate the egg cavity and mark off the nest site for further observations. We also GPS-mark the nest to ensure its location remains easy to find for daily observation.

LIGHTS OUT

When the nests are ready to hatch, we cover them with a cage and have volunteers watch the nests from 10 pm until 2 am. These cages are essential in our area due to development on our beaches. Turtles emerge at night and head toward bright lights. When they emerge into the cage we can control their path and make sure they make it to the water safely.

Since 2005, CMA staff and volunteers have released more than 60,000 sea turtles hatchlings into the Gulf of Mexico.

Nesting begins in May and the last nest will usually hatch by the end of October. Our area averages about 120 nests per season and each nest may contain, on average, 100 to 110 eggs.

Nesting Regions

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