Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

The loggerhead turtles are all right, wildlife officials say

CLEARWATER

Despite the looming oil spill, last winter's cold spell and the constant threat of too-bright beachfront lighting, it seems that Clearwater's loggerhead sea turtle nests are doing a-okay — for now, at least.

Since May 23, staffers from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium have discovered 43 turtle nests on public beaches.

"That's pretty normal," said Mike Anderson, the aquarium's supervisor of sea turtle nesting.

Honeymoon Island park manager Peter Krulder said rangers have found slightly fewer turtle nests on Egmont Key this year, and slightly more on Honeymoon Island.

As it turns out, though local wildlife suffered when the temperatures dipped below 40 degrees in January, loggerhead turtles off the coast of southwest Florida were largely unaffected, Anderson said.

His explanation: While green and hawksbill sea turtles bide their winters just off the coast of Tampa Bay beaches, loggerhead turtles spend the coldest months farther out to sea, in deeper waters.

The temperatures in those waters are much more consistent, he said, and resistant to temporary weather fluctuations.

That means that just as many loggerhead turtles as usual are now arriving on local beaches to plop their eggs in the sand. Their nesting season runs from May 1 to Oct. 31.

Still, residents living close to the surf need to remember to turn off their porch lights during egg-hatching season, Anderson said. The lights confuse baby turtles, who normally use the direction of the moonlight to find their way into the water.

"It's still a problem," Anderson said. "But we've seen a lot of improvement over the years."

Martine Powers can be reached at mpowers@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4224.

How to help

Keeping the light low (mount the fixture as low as possible) and shielded (fully shield the light so bulbs and/or glowing lenses are not visible) cuts down on the amount of glare and light visible to the animals, so there is less opportunity for them to get trapped, repelled, or have their day/night patterns altered. Long wavelengths (ambers and reds) make the light that is visible seem dimmer to specific types of nocturnal animals.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

The loggerhead turtles are all right, wildlife officials say 06/30/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 8:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Fennelly: Bucs' Roberto Aguayo has his backers, no matter how many kicks he misses

    Bucs

    He was perfect Friday, and not just because he didn't have to kick.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Roberto Aguayo (19) takes a photo with fans following the first day of training camp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Friday, July 28, 2017.
  2. Starbucks to close all Teavana locations, including five in Tampa Bay

    Retail

    Local Teavana locations include Tyrone Square in St. Petersburg, International Plaza and Westfield Citrus Park in Tampa, Brandon and Clearwater.

    Starbucks announced Thursday plans to shut down all 379 Teavana stores, citing "underperformance." Starbucks acquired the mall-based tea chain for $620 million in 2012. [ CANDICE CHOI | AP file photo]
  3. What to watch this weekend: 'The Last Tycoon,' 'Room 104,' 'Rick and Morty'

    Blogs

    Checking in: Room 104

    Listen up, fans of Hitchcock and American Horror Story. Room 104 might be your next obsession. With a premise that feels experimental, Room 104 explores one of film's most traditional styles - telling a story from the inside of just one room. The HBO series is from …

    Rick and Morty returns on Sunday for a third season.
  4. Rubio: I intend to keep campaign promises on Obamacare

    Blogs

    WASHINGTON - Sen. Marco Rubio says he remains committed to overturning Obamacare following the collapse of the latest attempt.

  5. Family spokeswoman: British baby Charlie Gard has died

    World

    LONDON — Charlie Gard, the critically ill British baby at the center of a legal battle that attracted the attention of Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump, has died. He would have turned 1 next week.

    This is an undated photo of sick baby Charlie Gard provided by his family, taken at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. [Family of Charlie Gard via AP]