Sea turtle nesting and hatching season is ending on Anna Maria Island with the turtles doubling and tripling records, both good and bad.
Turtle nests laid: 488
False crawls: 446
Nests hatched: 340
Not hatched: 148
Nests remaining: 0
Hatchlings to Gulf: 25,379
Nest disorientations: 58
Source: Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring
All nests have hatched – all 488 of them – resulting in a record high number of nests surpassing last year’s previous record by 53 nests, according to statistics compiled by Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring.
Turtle mothers, mostly loggerheads, more than doubled their 20-year average of 205 nests per year on the Island this season, May 1 – Oct. 31.
It also was a record year for the number of turtle hatchlings that made it out of their nests, across the beach and into the Gulf of Mexico – 25,379 – surpassing the 2016 record by 7,051 hatchlings.
The hatchlings more than doubled their 20-year average of 10,962 hatchlings per year, despite the high tides of Hurricane Irma on Sept. 10.
However, the year’s 58 disorientations also set a record, up 30 from the 2016 record.
Improper lighting, beach furniture left out overnight, holes in the sand and other causes more than tripled the 20-year average of 16 disorientations per year.