Sea Turtle Season at Ft. Myers Beach
It's Sea Turtle SeasonEach year, sea turtle season runs May 1 through October 31 at Fort Myers Beach. We're fortunate that every year, more and more sea turtles nest right on our beautiful beach, near Mango Street Inn Bed & Breakfast. It is truly a remarkable sight when you see them. As with all of our beautiful island creatures, it's important to understand the rituals and challenges of the sea turtle in order to protect them and ensure the hatchlings survive.
Fortunately, the numbers are growing each year. In 2015, Fort Myers Beach had 73 nests total, but last year that number increased to 92. We hope to see even more of an increase this year. Some experts expect that 2017 may be a “generational year.” Recently, the Island Sand (our local newspaper) interviewed Eve Haverfield. She is the founder of Turtle Time, Inc., the all-volunteer, non-profit group that monitors nesting of globally-endangered sea turtles on Big Hickory Island as well as Bonita, Bunche and Fort Myers Beach. According to the Island Sand, Eve indicates that, “We have been around long enough that some of our original hatchlings may return here to lay their eggs, as it usually takes 30 to 50 years to reach maturity, but some turtles do so a few years early, so 28 years on Fort Myers Beach might just do it!”
Facts About Loggerhead Sea TurtlesLoggerheads are the only sea turtle species known to use Fort Myers Beach as their nesting grounds. They usually nest 3 to 7 times a season and the hatchlings typically have an incubation period of roughly 2 months.
- Loggerheads are air-breathing reptiles.
- This common name refers to the sea turtle’s large head.
- They are the most common sea turtle in Florida and their food consists of mollusks, crabs and animals that cover reefs and rocks.
- Full-grown Loggerheads typically weigh up to 250-400 pounds.
- Adults can grow to more than 3 feet in length.
- Their hatchlings are only normally 2 inches long.
- The nest cavity is typically 18-22 inches in depth.
Sea Turtle Migration and RegulationsEach year during sea turtle "season", nesting turtles will travel up to thousands of miles from their feeding grounds back to the beach where they were born. Fort Myers Beach is one of those beaches. Please be aware that Sea Turtles are protected under the Florida Marine Turtle Act and disturbing them is punishable by law.
What You Can Do to Help
- Minimize beachfront lighting by turning off, shielding, or redirecting lights. You can use LED amber lights, which do not affect the turtle.
- Close blinds and draperies in gulf-front rooms at night to keep indoor lighting from reaching the beach.
- Do not construct campfires on the beach. Sea turtle hatchlings are known to be attracted to the light emitted by campfires and crawl into fires and die.
- Use your natural vision when walking on the beach at night.
- If you encounter a turtle on the beach at night, remain quiet, still, and at a distance, otherwise she may become frightened and return to the water without nesting.
At Mango Street Inn in Fort Myers Beach, we believe in being good stewards of our beautiful island and caring for the natural environment and species we are so blessed to be surrounded by. It's our goal to educate our guests to do the same, keeping Fort Myers Beach a beautiful and enjoyable place to visit for generations to come.
We can't wait to see you!