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The Sanibel Arms Vacation Guide

Sanibel Sea Turtle Nesting Season Starts in May -- Here's How You Can Help

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When you spend your vacation at our Sanibel Island condo rentals, you'll get to experience all of the natural beauty of Florida. Due to Sanibel's strict building code, we have only 6,000 year-round residents and our 15 miles of white beaches always feel private. But vacationers and townies aren't the only ones spending time on the beach this season. Starting in May, some sweet little slowpokes will start to emerge from their eggs and head towards the Gulf.

Of course, we're talking about sea turtle hatchlings! From May through October, these baby sea turtles will hatch on our beaches and make their epic journey towards the ocean. While Sanibel residents recently had the chance to watch the release of a rehabbed sea turtle, baby turtles are a much rarer sight. However, their tracks are frequently spotted all over the sand -- sometimes on the beaches right outside our condo rentals!

Although our beaches and climate are ideal for these tiny terrapins, they are extremely vulnerable. Unfortunately, many hatchlings don't make it to the Gulf at all. But there are ways you can help them while you're staying in our vacation condos. Here are just a few, recommended by the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation:

  • Turn off or shield all beach lights during nesting season, especially those that point toward the beach rather than the Gulf. Flashlights and artificial building lights can confuse both hatchlings and nesting females. Hatchlings may become disoriented and may not be able to find the water on their journey.

  • Keep beaches free of litter. Plastic bags, balloons, and styrofoam can easily be mistaken for food.

  • Sand castles and moats may be fun to make, but be sure to leave the beach as level as you found it at the end of the day. These little sculptures can be big obstacles for nesting mothers and hatchlings and can keep them from getting to where they need to go. Fill in all holes and make sure turtles have a clear path to the water.

  • Remove beach umbrellas, furniture, and other items from the beach when you're done for the day. Not only can they keep a hatchling from getting to the water, but they may even cause a mother to return to the ocean without making a nest. Making sure there's nothing in the way of these creatures can help them survive.

  • All dogs must be kept on a leash while at the beach. Not only will this keep both your dog and other families safe, but it will ensure no turtle nests are disturbed.

  • There's plenty of beach to enjoy when you reserve our condo rentals, but you need to steer clear of both sea turtles and marked nesting spots. Disturbing or interfering with turtle nests is a federal offense. Even using lights or noise to do so is illegal! Sea turtle hatchlings are endangered, so if you see a sea turtle, enjoy their presence from a distance.

  • If you come across lost hatchlings or a stranded turtle, call the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation. An adult sea turtle with orange shell markings is already being monitored by the foundation. Lost hatchlings should be placed in a dry container with a bit of moist sand and kept in a shaded area. A licensed volunteer or the program's sea turtle coordinator will handle it from there. If you cannot get in touch with them on the weekends, call the Sanibel Police Department.

If you're lucky enough to spot a sea turtle or hatchlings during your stay at our condo rentals, you'll have a memory that will last forever. But even if you don't get to see one, your assistance can ensure this species survives for the foreseeable future. For more information on all of the wildlife you'll be sure to enjoy during your stay -- or to get started on booking your trip -- contact Sanibel Arms today.

Posted in Island News


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