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Manasota Key is one of Florida’s prime nesting areas for threatened sea turtles, mainly the loggerhead species. During turtle nesting season, May 1st to October 31, local sea turtle patrol volunteers  identify and mark off each nest to help protect it from damage, though the greatest threat to the eggs is from natural predators such as armadillos and raccoons.

Midsummer, at hatching time, visitors can sometimes see hatchlings scrambling instinctively in the dark towards the water. There are strict guidelines to deter human interference with the natural phenomenon, as biologists estimate that less than 1 in 1000 hatchlings survive to reach maturity.

Story and Photography by Mary Lundeberg

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