The official start of turtle season is just about as big as the start of hurricane season here in Southwest Florida. The Sanibel Captiva Conservation Association wants to let everyone know that the mating has begun.
SCCF says Loggerhead turtles will soon be congregating offshore and the love-making will be frantic. “An interesting characteristic of sea turtle reproduction is that females may mate more than once in a single season, and they have the ability to store sperm. This means that a single nest may produce hatchlings with more than one father.”
Typically, loggerheads will migrate from their foraging and wintering grounds to areas offshore of their nesting beaches, such as Sanibel, in March and April. Some loggerheads being satellite-tracked by SCCF will be making their journey from waters surrounding the Keys, Bahamas, and Cuba.
Once they arrive, males will begin to court females, clawing and biting at their flippers, carapace, and neck. Successful courtship and mating can be a long process and has been observed at the surface and underwater. Turtles locked together during mating have been observed inadvertently washed up on the beach.
Once April arrives, SCCF’s team of patrols will begin early morning surveys to document and mark nests, some of which may have one, two, or many fathers!
Turtle season begins on May 1st.