Sea turtle species that lay nests in our local area are Loggerhead,
Green and Kemp’s ridleys. Loggerheads (Caretta caretta) are by far the
most common in Englewood and Venice, Florida. The next most numerous are
the Greens (Chelonia mydas). Both these species usually nest after dark.
Kemp’s ridleys (Lepidochelys kempii) very rarely nest here but usually
do so on windy days during daylight hours.
If you are lucky enough to encounter a turtle on the beach during the
daytime, stay well back, watch quietly so as not to “spook” the turtle,
take photos and email them to:
with information about the date, time and place. You may observe the
turtle rocking back and forth at her nesting site. This behavior is
perfectly normal for these turtles. Photo documentation of these very
rare turtles is very important.
If you encounter a turtle after dark, PLEASE stay well back, quiet,
keeping your cell phone lights turned off and avoiding any flash
photography. It may take an hour or so for the turtle to lay her clutch
of eggs and to camouflage her nest by throwing sand with her flippers.
It is not necessary to email us about turtles nesting at night, but
please try to avoid walking all over her tracks as our volunteers will
use them in the morning to help to determine to which species she
belongs and where she placed her clutch of eggs.
Sea turtle mothers carefully select their nesting sites and work to bury
and camouflage the location of her eggs, but that is the extent of her
care. No species of sea turtle exhibits maternal behavior. The little
hatchlings are on their own. If you encounter hatchlings on the beach,
please do not touch or disturb them or “assist” them in any way other
than remaining quietly out of their path to the sea or standing so that
your shadow shades them from the sun.
The hatchlings will instinctively crawl to the ocean and swin in a
“frenzy” for several days until they reach their first life stage home
in rafts of Sargasssum seaweed in the Gulf. Any lighting other than the
natural moonlight may disorient these little hatchlings causing them to
veer away from the water and they may die.
Visit myFWC.com for more
information about each species of turtle.
Manasota beaches were designated Critical Habitat for the threatened
loggerhead sea turtles in July 2014 and are increasingly used also by
Greens. Many people know that turtles are found on most sandy beaches of
Florida but they are not evenly distributed. The beaches of Manasota Key
are the most densely nested beaches of all the Gulf of Mexico states.