For Navarre Beach’s Sea Turtle Patrol the coming weeks are an exciting time as nest after nest of sea turtle eggs hatches.
Three of Navarre Beach’s five loggerhead sea turtle nests have hatched releasing hundreds of tiny hatchlings into the vast Gulf of Mexico, and the next nest is expected to hatch sometime this week. One nest was relocated to Gulf Islands National Seashore due to the beach renourishment.
This season is a decrease from last season’s 15 nests, but Turtle Patroller Cathy Holmes said that is not so bad.
“I don’t think it is better or worse, just lower,” she said. “Hatching success rate is very good. We have very good nest productivity so far, 252 hatchlings into Gulf and a 93 percent success rate.”
But Florida Fish and Wildlife estimates only about 1 in 1,000 of those hatchlings that make it to the water will survive to adulthood.
When you are just 2 inches long, the world can be a scary place.
On the night of hatching the hatchlings work together to dig their way up from their 18 inch deep nest cavity with flippers the size of toothpicks. Then the hatchlings face a daunting task: making it to the Gulf of Mexico.
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