Palm Island Resort: A Recognized Steward of Our Natural Environment
Palm Island Resort has a long-lasting commitment to preserving the natural environment, marine life and wildlife of Florida. Guests are encouraged to visit the Resort’s Nature Center and to learn of ongoing preservation projects. Visitors have the opportunity from May to October to participate in sea turtle awareness walks as hatchlings appear along our beaches. Manatee and dolphins can also be seen, along with native birds such as bald eagles, herons, osprey and pelicans. During the winter months shorebirds such as black skimmers and least terns call the Resort, home.
Palm Island Resort’s Naturalist conducts informative nature programs on the island for resort guests and residents including topics such as Manatee Awareness, Shore Birds, Sea Turtles and more.
No visit would be complete to Palm Island Resort without reserving some time spent with our naturalist.
Should you wish to explore nearby wildlife trails, parks or areas for bird watching, please contact our Activities Coordinator for suggestions and directions.
Sea Turtle Nesting Season
MAY 1 – OCTOBER 1 — Please make sure to follow these simple guidelines to ensure that the sea turtles laying nests and the hatchlings coming from the nests have a chance to do their job.
- Draw the drapes at night, keep unnecessary lights off in your unit and do not use flashlights on the beach….let your eyes adjust.
- Return beach chairs to their designated area, remove cabanas and umbrellas from the beach. Female turtles and hatchlings can become entangled and be the cause of their death.
- If you observe hatchlings, please stand still and observe. Children tend to get excited. NO LIGHTS, PLEASE, and do not touch. If they are crawling landward toward a light, call (941)270-2961.
- If you find a hatchling during the day, place it in a towel-covered container with sand and take it into the Resort’s Reception Desk. DO NOT place it in water.
Sea Turtles on Cape Haze, Florida
Loggerhead, Green and Kemp’s Ridley marine turtles lay their nests on our beautiful beaches. These are all listed on the Endangered Species List. The Loggerhead, the most common has been declining in population for the last 10 years.
A female loggerhead takes from 1 to 2 hours to lay about 100 eggs deep in the warm sand. The eggs look like ping pong balls – in size, color and shape. A sea turtle may nest multiple times in a single season, but once she returns to the sea she does not revisit her nest. Most loggerheads skip a year or two before nesting again.
The marine turtle has been in existence for 120 million years. The female mates offshore, then comes up onto the beaches at night to deposit her eggs (clutch). Each clutch can hold 80 to 150 eggs. She covers the clutch with sand, and returns to the sea and never sees her hatchlings again.
After incubating for about 45-55 days, 2″ baby turtles hatch but usually remain in the nest for several days. If the surface sand is hot, they settle down and wait for cooler sand at night. In the dark, birds are less likely to spot them crawling to the shoreline. Their natural instinct is to crawl toward the natural glow of light on the horizon. Scientists estimate that only 1 in 1000 hatchlings will live to reproduce, some 20-25 years later.