Rare sea turtle nesting on Venice Beach - WFLA News Channel 8

Rare sea turtle nesting on Venice Beach

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A Kemp's ridley sea turtle is reported to have nested on Venice Beach on May 9. Adam Sando image A Kemp's ridley sea turtle is reported to have nested on Venice Beach on May 9. Adam Sando image
SARASOTA COUNTY, FL (WFLA) - A very special guest is staying at Venice Beach.

Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium is keeping a close watch on a rare sea turtle that has nested on the beach.

The Kemp's ridley sea turtle is the rarest of all sea turtle species. A Kemp's ridley sea turtle is reported to have nested on Venice Beach on May 9.

Venice resident Adam Sando saw the rare turtle and videotaped it. Sando then notified Mote Marine about his discovery.

“Adam did everything right,” said Kristen Mazzarella, senior biologist with Mote’s Sea Conservation and Research Program.

“He observed the turtle from a safe distance, didn't interfere with the turtle's nesting and shared the news with us at Mote so we could document this rare Kemp's ridley nest.”

Unlike loggerhead sea turtles, which nest at night, Kemp’s ridleys nest during the day. According to Mote Marine, they also weigh less than loggerhead sea turtles. So, the tracks that they leave behind after nesting are often obscured by the time Mote Marine's Sea Turtle Patrollers are on a beach the following morning.

Throughout nesting season — May 1 - Oct. 31 — Mote scientists, interns and more than 300 volunteers in Mote’s Sea Turtle Patrol document nesting every day from Longboat Key through Venice.

The first nests in Mote's area were found May 6, on Longboat and Casey keys and were laid by loggerhead sea turtles.

Loggerheads, considered threatened under federal law, are the most common species on local beaches, followed by endangered green sea turtles.

In recent years, Sarasota County has also hosted a handful of endangered Kemp’s ridleys, among the smallest and rarest sea turtles.

This year marks Mote's 33rd year of nest monitoring along 35 miles of local beaches.

Mote biologists ask that residents who see any turtles nesting during the day, contact them at (941) 388-4331.

Learn more about the 2014 Sea Turtle Nesting Season: Nestinghttp://www.mote.org/index.php?src=gendocs&ref=EnvironmentalUpdates_SeaTurtleNesting2014&category=Main

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