Home' Island Sun : ISN 082815 Contents ISLAND SUN - AUGUST 28, 2015
submitted by Shirley Jewell
here on the
islands of Sanibel and
Captiva during what
some may call our
off-season. The pres-
ervation of our natural
surroundings affords us opportunities all
year long to experience amazing animal
life on land and water. In the period
between May and October, we welcome
back the amazing sea turtles. Female sea
turtles come ashore during this period of
time to nest on our beaches.
Kelly Sloan, Sanibel-Captiva
Conservation Foundation (SCCF) biolo-
gist and sea turtle coordinator, spoke
to the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club on
Friday, August 21 on the topic of sea
turtles. Sloan began with some basic sea
turtle information: they are air-breathing
reptiles; they have been around for 100+
million years; they come ashore only to
nest; they nest and hatch only at night;
and nest temperature determines the sex
of sea turtles. Overall, there are seven
species of sea turtles: loggerhead, green,
leatherback, hawksbill, Kemp’s ridley,
olive ridley and flatback, but only the
loggerhead and green sea turtles nest on
Sanibel and Captiva.
Loggerheads are reddish-brown with
very large heads, thus the name logger-
head. The carapace/shell and flippers
are a reddish-brown color; the plastron/
underbelly is yellow. They weigh in
around 200 to 400 pounds at maturity
and are somewhere around 3.5 feet long.
With their powerful jaws, the carnivores
feed mostly on mollusks, crustaceans,
fish and other marine animals. Their life
span is around 50 years and they are a
Green sea turtles are normally brown
or olive but are named for the greenish
color of their body fat. They are the larg-
est of the sea turtles. weighing in at more
than 400 to 700 pounds and are about
five to six feet long. Although large in
size, the green sea turtle has a tiny head
with a serrated jaw. This helps them
with their herbivorous/aquatic plant diet.
allowing them to cut through seagrass.
Their life span is around 80 year and
they are an endangered species.
Sea turtles spend their entire lives in
the ocean except during nesting time
and birth. Only the female sea turtles will
come ashore to lay their eggs. Male sea
turtles never return to shore after birth.
The female turtles usually return to the
same beach time after time to nest.
Using their strong flippers to emerge
from the water at night and crawl up the
beach to find a safe nesting site, they dig
a pit in the sand and fill it with some-
where around 100 to 200 ping-pong
shaped eggs in each nest, cover the pit
with an upside-down funnel shaped sand
covering, and crawl back to the ocean.
This camouflaged nest provides protec-
tion to the eggs from outside predators.
This egg laying ritual can happen
three to four times for one female per
season. The eggs hatch two months later.
Hatchlings emerge at night and, using
the light of the horizon, make their way
to the ocean. This is a most dangerous
time for the hatchlings because preda-
tors await. If they make it to the water,
they make a three-day journey to the
Sargasso Sea for a period of three years
before venturing off into other parts of
SCCF staff and volunteers monitor
island beaches during nesting season
to locate sea turtle nests. They record,
number, flag and place protective screen-
ing around the nests and mark them as
protected beach areas during sea turtle
season. SCCF Sea Turtle Patrol members
return each day beginning at dawn to
monitor the state of each nest, recording
vital information regarding influences on
the state of the nests and provide a count
of destroyed nests and empty eggshells.
To date the numbers of nests found on
Sanibel and Captiva this season are:
loggerheads, 129 on Captiva/489 on
Sanibel; green sea turtles, 26 combined.
To provide a safer environment for
the sea turtles, keep the lights near the
beaches off at night during sea turtle sea-
son, keep the water and beaches free of
litter, remove beach furniture at night, fill
holes on the beach and respect marked
sea turtle areas on the beach.
For sale at www.sanibelrotarystore.org
are Rotary T-shirts and long-sleeved sun
shirts with the gorgeous image of Myra
Roberts’ green sea turtle.
The Sanibel-Captiva Rotary meets
at 7 a.m., Friday mornings at The
Community House on Perwinkle Way.
Guests are welcome.
Green sea turtle painting by Myra Roberts
New Member Inducted
Dr. EJ Neafsey, research scientist
on the faculty of the University
of Virginia’s Department of
Environmental Sciences and visiting
research scientist with the Sanibel-
Captiva Conservation Foundation Marine
Laboratory, was inducted recently into
the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club by Janet
Strickland, acting club membership chair,
and Eldon Bohrofen, EJ’s club sponsor.
Dr. Neafsey is here in Southwest
Florida concentrating on the inventory and
health assessment of local mangrove eco-
systems using active/passive remote sens-
ing, GIS and field surveys, and conducting
subaqueous soil surveys of mangrove
expansion zones and seagrass beds.
Dr. EJ Neafsey
2451 Periwinkl e Way • Bailey’s Center
239 •313 •0535
Mon - Sat 10am-5:30pm
TILT THE POLE!
What: Shade all day - tilting
the umbrella pole.
Where: Patios, beaches, any
location getting sun all day.
How: Tilting the Pole!
Maximum shade - TILT
THE POLE! Never move
your chair! Simply tilt and
rotate the umbrella pole
in the direction of the sun
and have shade all day
long! MAX the SHADE!
Children at Summit Christian
Preschool at Sanibel Community
Church, located at 1740
Periwinkle Way, learn preschool educa-
tional skills through games, books, circle
time and interactive hands on activities.
One-on-one correlation can be shown
through board games while children
have a great time playing and practicing
turn taking and positive social interac-
Preschool starts August 31 at Summit
Christian Preschool and there are a few
spots still available for 3- and 4-year-olds.
VPK provider. For more information, call
Kathy Stanley at 482-7007.
Preschoolers learn to take turns and count
as they have fun
2003 PERIWINKLE WAY
SANIBEL ISLAND, FL
LOCATED IN TAHITIAN GARDENS PLAZA
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