Loggerhead sea turtle nests were found earlier this week on Captiva Island and Longboat Key, indicating that the beasts will soon start appearing on Anna Maria Island. The official nesting season runs from May 1 to Oct. 31.
According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring, here are some ways you can help the sea turtles this summer:
-- Turn off artificial lights that might appear visible on the beach. They can distract turtles as they come ashore to nest and then return to sea.
-- Don't leave beach chairs and other items that might serve as obstacles to turtles on the beach. Also, fill in any holes with sand.
-- If you see a turtle nesting, stay clear and watch from a distance in order to not distract the turtle.
If you think you have found an unmarked nest or a hatchling that has strayed from the waterline, call Turtle Watch 24hours a day at 941-778-5638 or 941-232-1405.