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Date of Issue: June 07, 2007

Turtle nesting 'hot' in June

"The girls are hot." That's the early observation for June from Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch executive director Suzi Fox.

Throughout May, AMITW walkers identified six nests and seven false craws.

In just the first two days of June, walkers identified three more nests and two false crawls.

A stretch of beach from the Sandbar Restaurant in Anna Maria to 66th Street in Holmes Beach seems to be the most active maternity ward in the city. It is home to half of the loggerhead nests made last month.

"They love the dark spots," Fox said, referring to the female loggerhead turtles that come ashore, creating tractor-like treads as they make their way over the sand to a suitable nest site.

For the record, there were four nests identified on Anna Maria in May 2005 and 12 nests in May 2006. The count was 42 nests in June 2005 and 49 nests in June 2006. The total number of nests last year was 118, and 97 in 2005.

On Longboat Key in May, walkers identified eight nests - four loggerhead nests in the Manatee County section and four turtle nests in Sarasota County. Two of the Sarasota nests were made by green turtles and two were made by loggerheads, according to turtle watchers at Mote Marine Laboratory.

Mote reported a total of 29 nests in May for the beaches it monitors on Longboat Key, Lido Key, Siesta Key, Casey Key and Venice. There were 40 fewer nests counted this May in the area than last May, the result of a decline in nesting on Casey Key and in Venice.

Nesting monitors, as well as code enforcement officers in the area, continue to encourage the public to help by removing beach furniture at night and turning off lights that can be seen from the water.

During the season, which continues through Oct. 31, beachgoers are encouraged to:

  • Remain quiet and observe from a distance if you encounter a nesting turtle.
  • Close drapes after dark and put beach furniture far back from the water - landward of any dune areas.
  • Fill in holes on the beach that may entrap hatchlings on their way to the water.
  • Place trash in its proper place.
  • Stay away from nesting turtles or hatchlings leaving nests.

For more information about AMITW, call 941-778-5638.