10 Fast Facts About Sea Turtles
Majestic natural beauty. Incredibly rich history. And an easy pace of life. If you didn’t know any better, you would think we were talking about the Bradenton Area. And while those things certainly do apply, we are, of course, talking about sea turtles—our most famous summer guests. Use these turtle tidbits to get better acquainted with this fascinating ancient species, as well as things to look out for and do while in the Bradenton Area on your next trip.
Life in the Slow Lane
To no one’s surprise, sea turtles aren’t known for their speed. They top out at just over 20 miles an hour—even when swimming.
What they lack in speed, they make up for in endurance; many sea turtles will swim thousands of miles over a single migration season.
Dinosaurs of the Deep
Sea turtles are an ancient species and have been around since before the time of the dinosaurs—more than 110 million years ago!
Five species of sea turtles swim, feed and nest around our shorelines. The two most common nesters on the shoreline are the loggerhead and green sea turtles.
Time to Shellabrate!
Nesting season is from May to October, when each turtle will lay between 3-6 nests and deposit about 100 eggs in each. However, contrary to popular belief, it is very rare to actually see the turtles or witness a nest hatching.
The Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch & Shorebird Monitoring, a local non-profit organization, offer Turtle Talks for visitors/volunteers every Tuesday at 10 a.m. at Annie Silver Community Center 103-23rd St. Bradenton Beach. You can join the staff that monitors sea turtle nesting for a fun and informative presentation and discussion about these gentle giants that periodically call the area home. No registration needed.
On Anna Maria Island, there are laws to protect sea turtles: no parking motor vehicles on nesting habitats, no artificial lights that can be seen from the nesting beaches, and no trash left on the beach can bring sea turtle recovery to a halt.
Protecting the Ecosystem
Sea turtles play an immensely important role in the area’s marine ecosystem. Whether by grazing on sea grass, controlling sponge distribution, feasting on jellyfish, transporting nutrients, or supporting other marine life, sea turtles are vital to the health of the Gulf of Mexico and our shorelines.
Nesting on our beaches been increasing over the years. This is largely the result of better education and creating a greater awareness to respect the animal’s space and activities while enjoying the beach.