By Lorraine Thompson
Itâ€™s been a busy week for the volunteers who monitor the sea turtle nests on St. Johns County Beachesâ€”especially on the north beaches where more than 100 Loggerhead nests were established, making the total Loggerhead nests 376.
In addition there are currently 18 Greens, 10 Leatherbacks and one Kempâ€™s nests for a total of 405 nests on the north beaches. Matanzas Inlet South beaches had no new nests added to their counts of 29 Loggerheads, 2 Greens and 4 Leatherbacks. Anastasia Island added three nests making the totals there at 71 nests which includes 63 Loggerheads, 4 greens, 4 each Leatherbacks and Kempâ€™s.
The current total number of nests on county beaches is 510 as of July 16. This compares with the 334 nests at the same time last year.
Sea Turtle Fast Facts:
- Hatchling Sea Turtles have to escape a gauntlet of predators, such as shore birds, ghost crabs, and insects to make it to the sea.
- During the first year after hatching, many species of sea turtles are rarely seen. This first year is known as the “unknown yearâ€
- Most researchers believe that they ride prevailing surface currents, situating themselves in floating seaweed where they rest and find food.
- The temperature of the nest decides the sex of the turtles; temperatures above 84.2Â° F make more females, and temperatures below 84.2Â°F make more males.
- It is estimated that Sea turtles can live up to 100 years old, however, Fewer than one in one-thousand sea turtles live from egg to adulthood.
- Juvenile Sea Turtles sleep while floating on clumps of seaweed on the surface of the water.
- Some adult Sea Turtles can hold their breath for up to thirteen hours while sleeping.
- When adult Sea Turtles sleep they do so underwater by wedging themselves between rocky outcrops to avoid getting carried away by ocean currents.
- Once sexually mature, female sea turtles will typically return to the beach area from which they originally hatched.
Light restrictions are in effect throughout the nesting season which ends October 31 or until the last nest has hatched. The hatchlings are attracted to lights either from autos or homes or businesses and may become disoriented. A single light can misdirect and contribute to the deaths of hundreds of hatchlings. To report any marine animals in distress call the Sheriffâ€™s Dispatch at 904-824-8304.