Watch Tiny Loggerhead Turtles Emerge From Their Sandy Nests in Florida
With humans staying indoors due to the coronavirus pandemic, loggerhead sea turtles seem to be thriving.
It’s a good time to shell-ebrate, because the beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel in Florida just saw one of its biggest nesting seasons of loggerhead sea turtles ever.
The Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation, one of the longest running sea turtle conservancy programs in the U.S., reported some unparalleled results with turtle nesting this year. Perhaps unsurprisingly, since a large portion of 2020 has been spent indoors by humans due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, animal populations have been thriving — and that’s especially true for sea turtles.
Typically, the conservancy oversees over 500 loggerhead nests per year, but they might be on track for breaking that record. According to a statement, the organization noted the most loggerhead nests ever recorded on Captiva Island, with 90 hatchlings as of July 3.
Researchers at the conservancy think that the decreased amount of human interference from social distancing measures is greatly to thank for the increased sea turtle numbers. Fort Myers Beach grew at the fastest rate, with 74 nests compared to only 26 by July 2019, and 78 nests (compared to 75 in 2019) were documented on the western end of Sanibel. Captiva Island has recorded 145 nests, compared to 78 last year.
Loggerhead turtles are named for their large heads and powerful jaws that make it easy for the creatures to crush clams and sea urchins for food, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Their nests are buried in holes in the sand, where hatchlings find their way to the surface, and eventually, their ocean home.
In addition, the minimal human activity on the beach may have also led to a unique discovery: This past nesting season also saw the first-ever documentation of endangered leatherback turtles on Captiva Island.
The organization released photos and video of some of the hatchlings emerging from their nest, and it’s truly a magnificent sight to see.