Which Sea Turtles Nest in Florida?

by 4Ocean Team June 10, 2018 2 Comments

Which Sea Turtles Nest in Florida?

There are three species of Sea Turtles whose nests you may come across in Florida from the Florida Keys to Cape Canaveral: Green Turtles, Loggerhead Turtles, and Leatherbacks. 

The Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta) 

Loggerheads are the most abundant species of sea turtle found in US coastal waters and are the most common turtle to nest on the East Coast of Florida. Loggerhead tracks are the most often seen sea turtle tracks on beaches during nesting season. So far this year, there have been 122 recorded Loggerhead turtle nests in Boca Raton alone! These turtles are named after their massive, block-like head. Adult loggerheads on average weigh 275 pounds and can have a shell length of about 3 feet. They use their powerful jaws to crush clams, crabs, and other crustaceans. Loggerheads are currently listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List



The Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas)

Green Turtles are named after their green body fat and can also be found on Florida's beaches each year. Approximately 100 - 1,000 green turtles nest on Florida's coast during nesting season. However, there are been zero nests recorded so far this nesting season in Boca Raton, FL. Last year there was a total of 300 recorded Green Turtle nests, up 114% from 2016! During the day they are found in shallow flats and seagrass meadows and return to their usual rock ledges, coral reefs, and oyster bars to sleep during the evening. Adult green turtles are unique in that they are largely vegetarians! They can weigh up to 350 pounds and its shell can grow to about 3.3 feet. Based on a study conducted on the maturity rate of Green Sea Turtles, it was found that this species is the slowest of all sea turtle species to sexually mature based off of known life spans for these turtles which may be one of the reasons why their populations are declining (Hirth 1997). Green Turtles are listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

The Leatherback Sea Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) 

Last, but certainly not least, the Leatherback Sea Turtle. They are the largest species of all sea turtles and are very distinct. Instead of a hard shell like other turtles, they are covered with a firm, leathery skin. This covering helps them tolerate stings from jellyfish - which is their most frequent meal. Unlike other turtles, Leatherbacks can regulate their body temperature which allows them to be able to tolerate colder water and have even been found in waters as cold as Alaska and Labrador! They can also descend great depths of more than 3,000 feet. Leatherbacks on average can grow up to 6 feet in length and can weigh anywhere from 500 - 1,500 pounds. The largest Leatherback recorded to date was found washed ashore in 1988. Unfortunately, the turtle had drowned after being entangled in fishing lines. It was approximately 100 years old, 10 feet long and weighed more than 2,000 pounds! Leatherbacks are currently listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. However, there have been 18 recorded nests in Boca Raton so far this nesting season, whereas only 5 total nests were recorded all of last year!

The FAU Marine Research Lab cares for all three species of sea turtles listed above. Each Sea Turtle Season, the lab takes in hundreds of new hatchlings to study and evaluate them in order to further our understanding and better our conservation efforts for these marine animals. The lab also takes in sick hatchlings and gives them the treatment they need to get better to be released back into the ocean. Throughout the month of June, you can support our cleanup efforts as well as the research and conservation efforts of the FAU Marine Research Lab by purchasing the Limited Edition Sea Turtle Bracelet. Get yours HERE.



4Ocean Team
4Ocean Team

Author

2 Responses

Rebecca Collins  (Becky)
Rebecca Collins (Becky)

July 26, 2018

I have been to the ocean about 7 times…I LOVE IT…I realize it’s importance…..I hope someday… to be in a place where I can participate in SUCH AN IMPORTANT ENDEAVOR….If I never can…I will ALWAYS do as much as I can to help….I am gona get the cleanup kit when I can afford it.Maybe I can only help save the rivers… THEY all go to the great oceans eventually……But I can influence others who care and don’t know what to do with that…If I have the logos…I can spread the LOVE.

Linda Perez
Linda Perez

June 20, 2018

What your doing is great I hope that the ban all plastic soon it is really hurting our creatures land and sea

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.





Also in Blog

Antarctic Krill Fisheries Voluntarily Halting Production to Protect Wildlife
Antarctic Krill Fisheries Voluntarily Halting Production to Protect Wildlife

by 4Ocean Team August 13, 2018

Large corporations are not generally considered very eco-friendly, but this is a great example of how big industries can come together to make a positive impact on the environment.

Continue Reading →

4Ocean Partners With SeaLegacy to Support Sustainable Fisheries
4Ocean Partners With SeaLegacy to Support Sustainable Fisheries

by 4Ocean Team August 08, 2018

4Ocean is partnering with SeaLegacy throughout the month of August to advocate for marine protected areas and support sustainable fisheries around the world.

Continue Reading →

The Pros and Cons of Aquaculture as a Solution for Overfishing
The Pros and Cons of Aquaculture as a Solution for Overfishing

by 4Ocean Team August 03, 2018

Aquafarming shows promise as a solution to meet the world's growing demand for fish protein. However, there are both benefits and drawbacks of aquafarming. Not all techniques are created equal. Discover the pros and cons of aquaculture and what you can do to ensure your seafood comes from a sustainable source.

Continue Reading →