Wednesday, December 1, 2021

What’s a Sea Turtle Boil?

Sea Turtle Weekly Update

Photo by Larry Richardson | Just minutes before sunset, hatchlings are all out of the nest and sprinting for the water (Lowdermilk Beach, Naples).

According to sea turtle experts, when sea turtles hatch from the nest, they burst out of the sand in frenetic unison and it looks like the sand is boiling. Once out, the hatchlings make a mad dash for the water to increase their chance of survival before lurking predators pounce on them. Inside the nest, it looks as if the signal was sent to breakout to the top making it look like a “pot is boiling.”  

One such “turtle boil” was witnessed recently by Nature Photographer Larry Richardson at the Naples Lowdermilk Beach. It was right around sunset and the beachgoers were busy watching the setting sun and were almost oblivious to another nature’s miraclea sea turtle boil close by. 

It did not take long before one or two or more beachgoers noticed the turtle boil and they shielded a safe pathway with their feet for the hatchlings leading directly to the water. There was plenty of daylight and they were able to take photos without using flash. Larry Richardson was at the beach that evening and shared these photos.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has one reminder for people looking to view hatchlings and sea turtles: DO NOT USE FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY. According to FWC, flash photography can interfere with nesting by frightening or disorienting the mother turtle while she is making her nest. A nesting female may become frightened by the flash and return to the ocean without laying eggs.  

Larry Richardson is a nature photographer and also a sea turtle researcher for the Conservancy of SW Florida. He spends a lot of time on Keewaydin Island as part of a sea turtle research. Through his camera lens, Richardson has captured amazing evening photos of sea turtles emerging from the surf to lay their eggs. 

Some of his photographs are displayed at an exhibit at the Marco Island Center for the Arts, La Petite Galerie.


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