Sea Turtles

There are five species of sea turtle that can be found in our area. They are the loggerhead, green, Kemp’s ridley, leatherback, and hawksbill sea turtles.  The most common sea turtle to nest on our beaches is the loggerhead. Green sea turtles also nest on Sanibel and Captiva sporadically, although in recent years green sea turtles have been breaking nesting records on these beaches! For more detailed information on the sea turtles that inhabit the waters monitored by RECON, visit the SCCF Sea Turtle Page

Unlike marine mammals that can regulate their body temperatures, sea turtles are cold-blooded and their body temperature varies with the surrounding water. At very low temperatures (less than 50o Fahrenheit [10o C]) they may become lethargic or "stunned." In 2010, a severe cold snap caused a massive cold stunning event in Florida that resulted in more than 3,000 cold stunned sea turtles. The live turtles were rescued and taken to rehab facilities around the country. Florida’s bays, estuaries, and lagoons provide important habitats for threatened and endangered sea turtles. As water temperatures drop in shallow bodies of water, many sea turtles will move through inlets and passes to warmer water offshore or to the south. A very rapid drop in the air and water temperature can trap sea turtles in the shallower coastal waters.

Additional Information

In early January of 2010 prolonged cold temperatures in the state of Florida resulted in a record cold-stunning event for sea turtles. Statewide over 4,500 sea turtles were rescued. 80% of all rescued turtles survived to be released. This is a video of rescued sea turtles from Sanibel being released.