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12 Aug 2017
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Sanibel Wildlife

As every visitor to Sanibel notes immediately on arrival, this island is dedicated to the ones it loves.

And though rental guests are highly appreciated and celebrated, there is no greater love than wild life on this little tropical island.

As you drive through the island, you will see numerous signs of our affection for our creatures, literally and figuratively.

The most visible signs are those along the roads posted to keep drivers to slow speeds. This is good for our 4 legged and winged friends as well as for our guests walking and biking.

But some of the signs of our respect and need to protect our wild life are not so obvious.

They can be found more subtly at the beaches where areas are cordoned off to give birds ample safe space when they are nesting and chicks are beginning to explore.

They can also be seen in the cordoned off areas designated to keep sea turtles and their nests unharmed.

The City of Sanibel, in partnership with the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF), asks all residents and visitors to do their part in protecting these very special threatened and endangered species. On Sanibel, nesting and hatchling emergence typically occur between May 1st and October 31st.

The nesting ritual of the loggerhead sea turtle is one of the most remarkable natural phenomena occurring on Sanibel’s Gulf beaches. This natural process has happened on Sanibel for centuries and our eleven miles of Gulf shoreline have more nesting activity than any other beach in Lee County. Sought by predators and susceptible to dehydration, sea turtle hatchlings have only a one in one thousand chance of survival. Human activities can further reduce that chance. Please help protect our legacy of life in these ways:

  • Turn off or shield lights near the beaches. Artificial beach lighting can inhibit female sea turtles from nesting and disorient hatchlings. Most beachfront lighting issues can be addressed by turning off all unnecessary lights, repositioning or modifying light fixtures, or closing blinds and drapes. 
  • Remove furniture and other items from the beach and dune area, when not in use, between the hours of 9:00 P.M. and 7:00 A.M. Items left on the beach including beach furniture, toys and trash may provide barriers to nesting or result in entanglement and predation of hatchlings.
  • Level all sandcastles and fill any holes dug during play. These are fine during the day but may pose additional hazards at night. Please leave the beach as you found it, so that sea turtles and hatchlings are not hindered on their way to nest or to the water.
  • Pick up all trash. Sea turtles mistakenly eat debris, especially plastic, which results in death.
  • Honor the leash law. All dogs on the beach must be on a leash and not allowed to disturb nesting turtles or hatchlings.

People come to Sanibel for many reasons, but the Island's greatest reason for existing is the haven it provides for the smallest of our creatures.