Be cautious, beachcombers, as turtle nesting season starts

April 26, 2014 

Watch your step. Out on our Gulf beaches, that is, as the sea turtle nesting season begins in mere days.

Early morning beachcombers may come across loggerhead turtle tracks before volunteers arrive to scour the sand and mark the nests so people steer clear of fragile eggs.

Kudos to the Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring for training volunteers this month, which maintains vigilance along 12 miles of Manatee County shoreline.

Over almost three decades, the organization boasts that it has monitored 6,539 turtle activities, protected 3,534 nests and 29,694 turtle eggs, and watched 215,680 hatchlings enter the Gulf. That's a lot of loggerheads.

Keep those beachfront lights out at night, too, as hatchlings will get confused. Baby loggerheads look to the moon for guidance to the Gulf, and artificial light can direct some to wander in the wrong direction and perish.

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