If you’ve ever been to one of the beaches along Manasota Key during May through October and wondered what in the world all those yellow stakes dotting the sand are for, they’re marking the location of sea turtle nests.
Most of the nests are loggerheads, but every now and then we get the occasional green turtle nest (according to the Turtle Patrol, the green turtle nests are larger and much messier). The information on the stake records the zone (each zone is approximately 1 mile), nest number for that zone, date, address/location, and the initials of the Turtle Patrol member documenting it. When you see these stakes, please don’t walk near/behind them – you might be walking on top of about 100 eggs. Each female sea turtle may dig around 5 nests per season. Whew, no matter what type of math you do, that’s a LOT of eggs! I think Mama needs a vacation after this! Approximately 2 months after the date on the stake, the baby sea turtles should start to hatch, emerge from the sand, and head for the Gulf. For obvious reasons, both the nesting and hatching generally take place at night, so seeing either event in person is pretty special.
These sea creatures are truly incredible: they have to basically “swim” through the sand up to the surface immediately after hatching; figure out which direction they need to head to get to the Gulf; dodge predators from land, air, and sea; travel for thousands of miles in a year; and avoid plastic garbage that looks like food. It’s a tough existence and these little guys are the epitome of perseverance!
In honor of World Sea Turtle Day, all our handmade sea turtle jewelry is on sale now through June 16 (11:59 pm EST).
If you are up to a road trip, the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville FL will be hosting a virtual reality sea turtle experience on June 16 from 1 to 4 PM. Sounds like a very cool, informative experience. But there are also some things closer to home that we can do every day to protect sea turtles and other sea creatures:
1. Take a garbage bag with you when you go to the beach/boating and pick up any trash you see (I’m heartbroken that I even have to mention this).
2. Don’t disturb turtle nests, or any of the other living sea creatures for that matter.
3. If you are fortunate enough to see a sea turtle coming on shore to nest, do NOT disturb it (stay away, no loud noises, no flashlights, no flash pictures, etc).
4. Don’t release balloons.
If you happen to be lucky enough to witness a sea turtle nesting or hatching, please let us know. We’d love to hear about your experience!