ANNA MARIA ISLAND AND SEA TURTLES:

The Island Turtle watch explains that five species of Sea Turtles swim and feed around Anna Maria Island. The most common nester on our shoreline is the Loggerhead. It has a reddish-brown shell and is named for its large head. Adults can weigh between 200 and 350 pounds and can reach 3 feet in length.

From May to October Sea Turtles, visiting summer guests and island residents share AMI and call this island home. These turtles are quite a site to see! Late in the evening the mother sea turtle will make her way onto the shore, dig a hole and lay her eggs. If you are walking the beach in the early morning you may be lucky enough to witness her making her way back to the Gulf of Mexico. If you don’t see her, you will definitely see her tracks heading back to the water.

HOW THEY NAVIGATE THEIR ENVIRONMENT:

Turtles use their natural instincts to find their nesting areas through the reflection of the moon and stars on the surface of the water. From May 1 – Oct 1 all lights on the beach and surrounding areas must be changed to red bulbs. This is done so as not to confuse the turtles and lead them in the wrong direction away from the Gulf.

DOING YOUR PART:

You can do your part by removing all items from the beach at the end of the day (chairs, umbrellas and any trash) and being sure to fill in any holes dug on the beach. Baby sea turtles can fall into holes and die because they are unable to climb out.

We have very own “Turtle Patrollers” – a group of dedicated volunteers who walk the beach every morning to mark new nests and alert wildlife experts is they see anything out of the ordinary. They would be happy to have you join them while you’re visiting – just reach out to them!

AN IMPORTANT PART OF OUR ECOSYSTEM:

Sea turtles clearly play an important role in our marine ecosystems. Each sea turtle species uniquely affects the diversity, habitat and functionality of its environment. Weather by grazing on sea grass, controlling sponge distribution, feasting on jellyfish, transporting nutrients or supporting other marine life, sea turtles play vital roles in maintaining the health of the Gulf of Mexico and the shoreline of Anna Maria Island.