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The loggerhead sea turtles of Florida’s Space Coast are on track to set higher records for nests.
The Florida Space Coast beaches are part of the largest nesting aggregation site of sea turtles in the world, with upwards of 23,000 sea turtle nests having been counted since the beginning of nesting season, according to the Florida Space Coast Office of Tourism.
In 2022 so far, the agency has counted some 17,996 loggerhead, 128 leatherback, 5,301 green and two critically endangered Kemp’s Ridley turtles in surveyed areas. In 2021 Brevard County recorded more than 29,000 nests in the area.
Sea turtle season begins in March and goes through the end of October, so there’s still time for the 2022 numbers to grow.
An adult green sea turtle is photographed amid nesting season on a Florida Space Coast beach. Authorized by FWC MTP 149A and 235. (Stella Maris Environmental Research)
“The Space Coast is known as one of the top nesting areas for loggerheads, and as their nesting season begins to wind down, we’ve already seen more than 2,000 more nests this year over last in the surveyed areas,” says Peter Cranis, executive director, Florida Space Coast Office of Tourism.
A sign warning patrons to not disturb an area where there’s turtle nests is seen in Brevard County, Florida, where more than 29,000 nests were recorded in 2021. (Florida Space Coast Office of Tourism)
“Green sea turtles are still nesting, so we’re excited to see their numbers continue to grow as well,” he adds. “We encourage visitors to consider taking a night sea turtle walk in June or July during the height of Loggerhead nesting for a special one-of-a-kind experience.”
“Nature is such an important part of what makes the Space Coast so unique, so we’re always happy to spread the word,” Cranis says.
A baby sea turtle is seen resting in the sand on a Florida Space Coast beach. Authorized by FWC MTP 149A and 235. (Stella Maris Environmental Research)
Sea turtles treading through sand in Florida as researchers predict the marine animal will set a new record for nests. Authorized by FWC MTP 149A and 235. (Stella Maris Environmental Research)
Using her back flippers, a sea turtle will dig a nest in the sand and lay her eggs. The process typically takes one to three hours. Then, the mother turtle will drag herself back into the ocean, according to the National Ocean Service’s website.
The sea turtle lays up to 100 eggs. The eggs then incubate in warm sand for roughly 60 days, the agency says.
The turtle species most frequently found on the Space Coast is the endangered loggerhead, according to the Florida Space Coast Office of Tourism.
As Florida’s most abundant sea turtle, to date, the loggerheads are approximately 20% ahead of their numbers last year in Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge in Brevard County, and could be on track to set a new record.
A turtle nest is seen in this image shot on a Florida Space Coast beach. (Florida Space Coast Office of Tourism)
A small sea turtle makes its way to the ocean in Florida. Authorized by FWC MTP 149A and 235. (Stella Maris Environmental Research)
In addition to spotting two nests of the critically endangered Kemp’s ridley turtles this season so far, it’s also worth noting that as of June 25 the leatherbacks have doubled their numbers this year from what was recorded in the previous two years.
Perri Ormont Blumberg is a contributing lifestyle reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent on Twitter at @66PerriStreet.