SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Biologists have discovered two nests belonging to a rare sea turtle in Sarasota County.
The Mote Marine Laboratory said its researchers found the nests of a leatherback sea turtle in Venice and Sarasota, but the exact locations were not disclosed to protect the eggs from harm.
It’s the second time such a nest has been documented in the county’s history. The discovery is extremely rare, given that the turtles rarely nest near the Gulf of Mexico. The majority of their nesting occurs on Florida’s east coast. The last nest found in Sarasota County was in 2001.
Leatherback sea turtles are the largest of all sea turtle species and are more deep-diving and migratory than other turtles, according to Mote.
On average, they nest about five to seven times a season every two to three years. They construct their nests at night in clutches and produce an average of 80 to 85 yolked eggs, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.