Posted on 6/17/2024 by Bailey P.

Sea Turtles on Siesta Key!

When is Sea Turtle Nesting Season?

On our beautiful beaches, the sea turtle nesting season begins May 1st and lasts until October 31st. This year, Mote Marine Laboratory’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program (STCRP), announced the first documented sea turtle nest of the year on Sunday, April 28th just south of Siesta Key on Venice beach! With the official start of nesting season, keep an eye out while exploring our beautiful beaches and maybe you’ll be lucky enough to spot these beautiful animals.

Remember to Share the Sand! 

Sea Turtle nests found by STCRP will be clearly marked with wood stakes and caution tape. Remember to keep a distance from nests so as to not disturbed any of the soon to hatch baby turtles. If you happen to see a turtle, please do not touch them. Do not make loud noises around the nest, shine flashlights at turtles, or encourage nesting turtles to move. It’s important to provide a safe place for these turtles to nest without being disturbed so that the population can continue to thrive!

Who is Mote Marine Laboratory?

Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium works to “advance marine science and education leading to new discoveries, revitalization, sustainability and greater public understanding of our oceans.” Starting on April 15th, until the end of nesting season, the Sea Turtle Conservation and Research department begins monitoring 35 miles worth of beaches. Starting from Longboat Key down to Venice, the STCRP staff and hundreds of volunteers survey the beaches, marking nests and documenting important details, such as the number of nests, how long the turtles stay incubated, and whether the turtles successfully emerge from the nest, since 1982. Since observations have begun, researchers have seen a steady incline in both the loggerhead and green sea turtle nests.

What you can do to help!

During nesting season, it’s important to keep the beaches dark. Bright lights on the beaches and the houses along the coast can disorient hatching turtles and discourage females from coming ashore to nest. This time of year, you can also help by closing curtains, and turning off outdoor lights once the sun has set! Relaxing in the sand, building castles, and digging motes is all part of the fun when you’re on vacation, but to prevent obstacles for new turtles trying to make their way to the ocean, be sure to take your beach equipment back with you, knock down castles and fill in any holes in the sand. 

If you happen to see a stuck or wounded turtle, or other sea creature, please contact Mote Marine Laboratory’s Stranding Investigations Program at (888) 345-2335. 

RUn for the TUrtles!

Every year, Mote Marine Laboratory hosts a Run for the Turtles event. This past year, for the 38th annual run, over 1,000 runners participated in both the 1-mile Siesta Key run and the Manasota Track Club-sanctioned 5k. They successfully raised approximately $45,000 for their Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program, making it one of the most successful turnouts in the history of the event! Mote Marine Laboratory encourages everyone to mark their calendars for next year's 39th Annual Run for the Turtles on April 5th, 2024.

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