Loggerhead Turtles visit Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island – Loggerhead Turtles are the most common found nesting on our shores from May through October every year. There are five different species of Sea Turtles that can be found swimming in the waters around Anna Maria Island.

Loggerhead Turtles and More

Among Loggerheads the Gulf of Mexico is also home to Hawksbill, Leatherback, Kemp Ridley and Green Sea Turtles. Occasionally on Anna Maria Island we have had Green Sea Turtles nest, but most nests are from Loggerheads.

According to Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring the 2015 Sea Turtle nesting season brought Anna Maria Island 356 nests with 441 false crawls, or crawls not resulting in eggs, and a total of 12,571 hatchlings sent off to the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay.

Loggerhead turtles have a large head and powerful jaw suited for eating the hard shelled organisms that make up most of their diet. In addition to eating mollusks, whelks and conchs, and sea urchins Loggerheads feast on Jellyfish and are predominantly carnivores. After hatching, baby turtles make their way to the safety of sargassum, or large patches of floating sea grass, to feed on tiny floating organisms and invertebrates.

Loggerhead turtles
A loggerhead Sea Turtle released from a rehabilitation facility.

Loggerheads aren’t just found in Florida waters, but have a very large range including the sub-tropic and tropic regions of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. Occasionally Loggerheads have even been seen off the coast of Oregon, but do not nest on those coasts. These turtles can be found hundreds of miles off shore in open water, around coral reefs, as well as inshore lagoons, bays, salt marshes and large rivers.

About Loggerheads

Loggerhead turtles, also know by the scientific term as Caretta caretta, have almost heart shaped shells with a red tinged top and yellow underside. Males have a longer tail with their carpace, or top shell, narrowing towards their back end. Baby Caretta caretta have a dark grey or brownish carpace with a pale yellow underside, and their flippers are dark brown with white edges. This species of turtle is typically in the 200 pound range as adults, but can grow to 400 or more pounds in weight. The adult Caretta caretta has an average length of 36-38 inches with babies hatching at just a couple of inches.

Turtles and Ecosystem

Sea Turtles play an important role in their ecosystem, with their biggest threat coming from development of habitat. It is important to be mindful when visiting the beach during nesting season. Turtles need to navigate the coastline uninterrupted. Female Loggerheads usually come up on to the shore after nightfall to nest. Often they visit the same beaches where they were hatched. Caretta caretta nests can hold around 100 eggs, but are susceptible to predation from animals foraging on the coast.

When visiting gulf beaches between May and October it is important to flatten sandcastles, fill in sand holes and remove beach equipment and garbage. This is to ensure turtles and hatchlings don’t become entangled or trapped. For tips on sharing the beach during turtle season read our “Rules to Live by during Turtle Season“. If you see a turtle or hatchlings stay back, give the animal space so they don’t become stressed.

Loggerhead turtle hatchlings
Baby Loggerhead Turtles make their way to the Gulf.

If you see an injured sea turtle or unmarked nest please contact the Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch at 941-778-5638. Also contact Florida Fish and Wildlife at 888-404-3922. If you find any type of injured wildlife contact Wildlife Inc. at 941-778-6324.

 

Anna Maria Island Beach Front Accommodations

Island Real Estate offers a large selection of beach front vacation rentals to choose from, so plan your stay today!

Anna Maria Island vacation rental
La Casa LaMar offers direct beach front accommodations for up to 5 guests! Click on the image to learn more about this beautiful home.

Manatee Miles Sea Turtle Stroll

Bradenton beach – Don’t miss the Manatee Miles Sea Turtle Stroll on Saturday May 9th at 9am.

A family fun run/walk coming in two flavors, a one-mile course and a 5k course, is an event whose proceeds go to the United Way of Manatee County. Registration is $35 for one adult and up to four kids, $50 for two adults and up to four kids, $25 for an adult up to April 30th and $30 after that, $15 for teens between 14 and 17 and $5 for each additional kid ages 3-13. Adults who sign up before April 30th will get a complimentary event t-shirt. The first 200 to register will also get a free stuffed koozie.

Registrations start at 8am with the walk/run starting at 9am and is located on Coquina Beach at 2650 Gulf Drive South in Bradenton beach.
United Way addresses our community’s most challenging issues by focusing on the building blocks of a good life; Education, Financial Stability and Health. By participating in the Manatee Miles Sea Turtle Stroll, participants help give Manatee County children the opportunity graduate from high school on time, help residents have access to opportunities to create financial stability for themselves and their families, and help community members make healthy choices, be safe from violence, and have access to healthcare and healthcare supports.

Online registration and additional information available is available HERE.  Contact Katie Becker at kbecker@uwmc.net or  for more information.

For more information on Manatee County Government, visit online at www.mymanatee.org or call (941) 748-4501. You can also follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/manatee.county.fl and on Twitter, @ManateeGov.

New Street Lights, Turtles – Anna Maria Island Turtles are a little safer

Anna Maria Island – New Street Lights Turtles on Anna Maria Island.

New Street Lights for Turtles

New Street Lights Turtles

Locals are happy! Sea turtles on Anna Maria Island are important to locals. We are serious about protecting our hard-shelled friends on their journey to the Gulf. In fact, they are getting a very promising present from Florida Power and Light, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and Florida Department of Transportation. These companies have put together an idea to protect and help these sea turtles get safely to the water with a plan to install turtle-friendly street lights along the coastal roadways. You can learn all about this at the Islanders website.

In addition to the efforts made by these organizations, visitors and locals can help sea turtles too! During nesting season, May-October, be sure to keep exterior lights off. Alternatively, if you live near the beach, you can install turtle friendly lights.

How NOT to spend a day at the beach Anna Maria Island

This is our guide on how not to spend a day at the beach Anna Maria Island. Our coastlines are a serene oasis for people all over the world. In order to keep them this way, here are a few tips on what to avoid when spending a day on the surf:

No Smoking on the beaches of Anna Maria Island1. Please no smoking on the beach!

Yes, it’s technically outside yet our wildlife is accustomed to our fresh clean salt air. Please do everyone a favor and don’t light up on the sand.

2. As tempting as it can be, please do not feed the seagulls.

If you’ve ever been the victim of a seagull swam fighting over a Cheeto, you’ll thank me for this warning.

3. If you see a turtle nest – please do not touch!

The nesting turtles are endangered and protected by law. Not only will harassers get a fine, the dirty looks from surrounding beachgoers may haunt your entire vacation!

4. Don’t be loud!

The natural sound of the waves crashing, the salty wind and sea birds calling is music to our ears – no loud radios necessary! Please leave the boom boxes at home and enjoy the soothing sounds of the Gulf of Mexico live in concert!
And Finally…

Respect the Sea Turtles on Anna Maria Island5. Don’t leave trash

When heading home after your glorious beach day, please make sure to gather all your belongings as well as any trash. Most beach access roads have large trash cans provided that you can use. Strive to leave your area of the beach even better than when you arrived – maybe start a game offering treats for the kids in your party to find extra trash!

When we all do MORE than just our share we can ensure the beautiful beaches of Anna Maris Island will continue to be enjoyed by generations to come. If we are lucky enough to spend a day on the beach, then we’re lucky enough!

Rules to live by during Anna Maria Island Sea Turtle Season

This is our list of rules to live by during Anna Maria Island Sea Turtle Season! Every year between May 1st and October 31st hundreds of turtles crawl up onto the Anna Maria Island beaches and lay thousands of eggs. Once these eggs hatch tiny turtles emerge, scurry to the water, and begin the unimaginably difficult journey through gulf waters. If they are lucky to survive these early stages of life, females of the five Anna Maria Island turtle species will come back each year to lay their own eggs. Here are some important rules to follow to make sure they aren’t disturbed as they start their lives.

Green Sea Turtle
Green Turtle on Anna Maria Island. Photo Credit to Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring Facebook page contributed by Kathy Doddridge

 

Anna Maria Island Sea Turtle Season

– Turn off outdoor lights that are visible from the beach at night. They can be disorienting to nesting and hatching sea turtles.

– Don’t aim camera flashes at the Sea Turtles.

– Don’t use flashlights or other light sources at night on the beach.

– Remove chairs, umbrellas, tents, grills and all objects from the beach at night.

– Fill in holes dug in the sand so that nesting and hatching turtles don’t get trapped.

Sea Turtle hatchling

– If you see a nesting or hatching turtle, be quiet and don’t touch it under any circumstance.

– Again, don’t touch the Sea Turtles.

– Watch for Sea Turtles and Manatee’s while boating.

– Stay away from the staked nesting areas along the beach.(This applies to the staked bird nesting areas too)

– Don’t chase the birds.

– Dispose of fishing line, hooks, plastic bags and other trash.

– No fireworks, balloons or sky lanterns from the beach. The debris is dangerous to the turtles, birds and other wildlife.

For emergencies or questions about Sea Turtles, birds and other wildlife, call the Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring organization at 941-778-5638, or the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Wildlife Alert hotline at 888-404-3922.

Meet Tami Turtle! The Anna Maria Island Turtle!

Tami-Turtle-Cut-Out-Island-Real-Estate

Heeeey guys! I’m Tami Turtle and I’m blogging’ to you  from right here, my hometown of Anna Maria Island. I wanted to tell all you ALL about my kind, the loggerhead sea turtle. Since we’re the most common sea turtles here on AMI, I thought you should know a bit about us.  Visit Island Real Estate at Pine Avenue if you want to take a fun photo as seen above.
Loggerhead Sea Turtle swimming
First of all we are pretty important. I mean, we are a big part of the marine food chain. We can live up to 75 years, sometimes longer. We usually get to be about 3 feet tall and weigh 250-300 pounds. We have dark yellow-brown skin with a greenish-brown shell. And guess what! When we lay eggs we always go back to the same beach where we were born. Pretty cool, huh?
Turtle Tip Time!! Don’t keep your lights on at night ’cause we are attracted to them. Don’t leave your trash or beach chairs on the beach either or we’ll think they’re food or get stuck in them. And please, please, PLEASE DO NOT touch us or dig up our nests! It’s breaking the law. Thank you!
Loggerhead Sea Turtle Baby
We live in nearly every ocean (except the Arctic) and in shallow waters. We mainly eat jellyfish, corals, sea anemones, squid and flying fish. Maybe not yummy to you, but delicious to us!

If you wanna come and check us out head over to Mote Marine or the Florida Aquarium and “sea” what we’re up to! ‘Til next time this is Tami Turtle signing off. Turtley, dude!

Anna Maria Island sea turtle tips from TAMI

Hi everyone! My name is Tami the Turtle and I’m a brand new resident of Anna Maria Island.

Of course, I’ve been here before on vacation – everyone knows that Anna Maria is a family friendly spot to get away and during turtle season, up to five species make the trip ashore to hatch their eggs. Loggerheads are the most common, but you’ll also spot the rarer green turtle. From the beginning of May through October, we’re all sharing the beautiful gulf coast beaches.

Tami
Our newest member of the IRE family, Tami

But how can we get along and make sure to keep Anna Maria Island the favorite spot to spend family time? Whether it be in a shell or a fabulous vacation rental property? The answer is blissfully simple: education! Know your beach etiquette during turtle season and don’t be afraid to share it with others. After a while, it will become second nature and Anna Maria Island will be a perfect place to come with your family for all of us.

Turtle Tip #1: Don’t Let Us See the Light.

Turtle hatchlings are very sensitive to lighting. They become disoriented from man-made light sources and turned away from the beach, directly towards danger. Please don’t use a flashlight on the beach at night or any flash photography. Anna Maria Island doesn’t permit any driving on the beach, but do be aware of your headlights. Minimize any beachfront lighting at your property. Also please keep in mind that if you’re walking around at night during Turtle Season that baby turtles are easily stepped on in the dark. That’s certainly no way to make friends on the beach.

Turtle Tip #2: Too Adorable to Touch

We know, we know – us turtles have heard it a thousand times before. We’re the cutest things you ever did see. But please be sure to keep your distance if you spot any baby turtles or hatching females. Mama Turtles can have a hard time laying their eggs with people around and only a professional should handle misguided babies. Get in touch with AMI Turtle Watch at (941) 778-5638 should you ever spot a distressed or dead turtle. This includes any unmarked

Turtle Tip #3: Pick Up Your Toys

We know that you would never litter – the beaches around here are famously pristine and that helps keep the sands safe for natives, tourists, and turtles alike. But also be sure to fill in any holes from building sandcastles and double check that you have all the toys you brought down to the shore with you.

To learn more about us, get in touch with our friends over at the Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch. Or visit a few of the patients in Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital. We’re all very lucky to be sharing this seven miles strip of paradise, so let’s work together to keep it the pride of Florida’s gulf coast.

I’m really looking forward to us being friends. Keep an eye out for me around Island Real Estate’s website and blogs.

Shells and kisses, Tami 

Anna Maria Island – Turtle Season 2012!

Anna Maria Island has set a record with the most turtle hatchlings on the island in over a decade. Loggerhead turtles were reported to have laid 360 nests on the island with a successful 12,627 babies who made their way out to sea. A fantastic total and accomplishment considering Tropical Storm Debbie washed away 156 turtle nest during her appearance in June. Susan Fox, director of AMI Turtle and Shorebird Monitoring quoted to the Bradenton Herald that she believes an increase in community knowledge and consideration has definitely contributed to the nesting success this year. There were 329 recorded “false crawls” this season, where a turtle comes ashore to potentially nest and goes back out to sea without laying her eggs due to a number of possible factors such as overwhelming lights, human interference, etc. There was also 2 Green turtle nest which hatched 96 babies, who are VERY rare to the area having only 4 nests reported on AMI in the last 30 years. Green Sea Turtles generally nest in the Caribbean and are on the endangered species list-laying only an average of 150 nest a year (this year 362 were tallied). These scarce breed of offspring’s are believed to be the last hatchlings of the season, ending this years tally with a boom!

Written by Island Real Estate Reservationist Angela.