ANNA MARIA ISLAND -- A green sea turtle nest filled with eggs -- a rarity in the region and only the second such nest found on Anna Maria Island in the past 28 years -- has been discovered on Coquina Beach and moved to safety.
The nest was found near lifeguard stand No. 3 by a volunteer with Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shore Bird Monitoring, and it was moved to a safer area on the island Tuesday morning, said Suzi Fox, the group’s director who confirmed the species and its rarity.
“One thing that makes the green turtle unique is that it’s a vegetarian or herbivore, unlike other members of its family, like the loggerhead,” Fox said.
The green sea turtle, which can grow to 5 feet long and 690 pounds, gets its name from the green fat found beneath its upper shell, according to Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia.
The green turtle is listed as endangered and is protected from exploitation in most countries, Fox said.
Like other sea turtles that Fox’s group monitors during nesting season from May until October, the green turtle migrates between its feeding grounds and hatching beaches.
Green turtle babies, if and when they hatch, will have to make a trek to the Gulf of Mexico like the loggerheads do.
Fox says only one in 1,000 sea turtles makes it from egg to adulthood, but if they do they can live to be 80 years old
“The green sea turtle is faster and bigger than the loggerhead and it’s very hard to locate their nests,” Fox said. “We thought the eggs would be larger than the loggerhead, but they are actually smaller.”
The nest was relocated on a stretch of beach along Gulf Drive off Third Street, Fox said.
The green turtle nest rescue was part of a busy day Tuesday for Fox’s volunteers.
After moving the green turtle nest at about 7:30 a.m., a group of them rushed several miles north to the Willow Avenue beach where the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office was waiting on them to begin an extensive beach excavation in the case of missing island woman Sabine Musil-Buehler, who was herself an ardent turtle protectionist.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 748-0411, ext. 6686.