Four Sea Turtle Hatchlings Trapped in Hole on Beach in Anna Maria Island

Four Sea Turtle Hatchlings Trapped in Hole on Beach in Anna Maria Island

Wildlife officials are reminding beachgoers to fill their sand holes at the end of the day after four sea turtle hatchlings were found trapped in a hole on a beach in Anna Maria Island, Florida.

Holmes Beach Code Enforcement Officer Jayson Clayton found the hatchlings while on his patrol, ensuring that the beach is completely flat for turtles heading to sea, WTSP reported.

Clayton fills as many as ten holes a day, and he was quite surprised to find four hatchlings in a hole. He described the hole as two feet wide and three deep, absolutely enormous for the two-inch hatchlings to escape. He contacted Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch.

“She informed me that she didn’t have any volunteers nearby that could get there in a reasonable amount of time and if the beach was clear, she instructed me to release the turtles,” Clayton told the outlet. “I was super happy that it was successful and all four turtles made it to the water and they were released.”

The trapped sea turtles were exerting the necessary energy needed to make the swim out to the ocean in trying to escape from the hole, according to Clayton.

Turtle hatching season runs from May and October on the Gulf Coast, and there are currently 338 turtle nests at the popular vacation spot of Anna Maria Island.

“They’re facing mostly human-induced threats and those include our holes on the beach where they could get stuck, beach furniture on the beach that they can get entangled in and lighting problems where they use the light to find their way to the ocean,” Kristen Mazzarella, director of Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch, said.

Navigating manmade obstacles is just one barrier for sea turtles because once they make it to the ocean, they must dodge natural predators like seabirds and fish, according to the National Ocean Service. Experts estimate that only one out of 1,000 to one out of 10,000 will make it to adulthood.

Officials are urging beachgoers to do their part to ensure these creatures have the best chances, Fox 13 reported. Beachgoers are encouraged to refrain from flash photography at night as this will disorient and confuse the turtles. People should make sure the beach is cleared of any beach chairs or litter, and most importantly, people not touch or interact with the turtles as it is prohibited by law.


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