As you know, Turtle season has begun! And how better to kick off the 2018 season than with a unique and astonishing rare turtle sighting.

Earlier this month The Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) discovered a Kemp’s ridley sea turtle nesting right here on Sanibel Island.

This sighting is only the third time a Kemp’s ridley sea turtle has nested on Sanibel Island since 1967. These sea turtles are one the most endangered and smallest type of sea turtle in the world.

The Kemp’s ridley sea turtle has often been confused with the larger but similar-looking loggerhead turtle. At adulthood, Kemp’s ridley turtles reach about 2 feet in length and weigh up to 100 pounds. The Kemp’s ridley can be identified by its yellow bottom shell and broad, gray top shell, which is heart-shaped and filled with ridged scales.

A female Kemp’s ridley turtle can lay up 110 eggs at a time. Some females breed annually and nest an average of 2-3 times in a season at intervals of 10 to 28 days. Hatchlings are black on both sides.

Historically, Kemp’s ridley turtle populations declined due oil spills, beach traffic, beach development and predation on nestlings. Boat propellers as well as trash, plastic, and improperly disposed of fishing line and equipment can also injure sea turtles.

Help us keep our turtle visitors safe. After the sun goes down, please turn off or shield all lights that are visible from the beach, including closing window blinds. Do not use flashlights or cell phone lights on the beach.

If you have any questions or concerns about nesting or injured turtles, you’re asked to call the SCCF Sea Turtle Hotline at (978) 728- 3663.

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