The annual nesting season for Loggerhead Sea Turtles is May 1st through October 31st. The months of May through August bring female sea turtles to Florida beaches to lay their eggs. Female Loggerheads will typically lay three to five nests per season but only lay eggs every two to three years.
Female Loggerheads can be quite picky when deciding where to nest. Often, debris along beaches, artificial lighting or simply lack of a perfect location will send the female back to the water without laying a single egg. This is termed a “false crawl.”
In order to help reduce false crawls, Marco Island strictly enforces Ordinance 01-35 (Sea Turtle Protection), Ordinance 99-7 (Lighting Regulations), and Ordinance 08-14 (Beach Ordinance). This means that any lights visible to the beach must be turned off or shielded by 9:00 PM. This includes turning off balcony lights, closing blinds and ensuring proper shades on parking lot lighting. Beaches should also be free of debris every evening. Chairs, umbrellas, water sport equipment and any other equipment should be removed by 9:00 PM each night. Fill any holes dug in the sand and be sure to remove all garbage. These steps will ensure a safe area for nesting.
When the female Loggerhead finally finds the proper spot, the turtle will dig into the sand, using the strength of her rear flippers. She will lay around 100 eggs per nest. The Loggerhead then buries the nest, creating a slight mound, and heads back out to sea.