Sea turtle nests are starting to pop up on Bay area beaches.
"Walking out here on the beach this morning, it was like Disney World to me. Everyone was excited," Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch Director Suzi Fox said Monday.
Fox's team spotted the Bay area's first loggerhead nest of the season just a short shuffle from the shoreline Monday morning. It's home to about 100 sea turtle eggs, tucked 2.5 feet under the sand.
"In the very beginning of the season, the hatch rate is very high due to warmth and no rain. We get just about 100 percent hatch in the beginning of the season," Fox said.
While it's the first nest for Bay area beaches, it's certainly not the last. In 2012, Anna Maria Island alone hosted 13,000 hatchlings.
No matter where the sea sweeps them, experts say those babies will one day find their way back to Florida's West coast to lay their own young.
"They usually come up to the nest that they were actually hatched from and born from several years after they're born," said the Florida Aquarium's Kristen Aanerud.
While they're captivating, experts say it's important to keep a safe distance from sea turtle nests. Because the turtles can get tangled up in lawn furniture, they encourage residents to bring those items in overnight.
It's also recommended to turn off lights facing the beach at night that can disorient hatchlings. They rely on the moon's reflection to find their way to the water, and any artificial light can disorient them.
Some say it's a simple request in order to share the beach with some of Florida's most majestic natives.
"People want to come to Anna Maria Island and the beautiful beaches because they're natural and have beautiful nature around them. They aren't coming here to see a high-rise or a casino. A beautiful beach is what they want, and these turtles are part of that," Fox said.
The Bay area season's first nest is expected to hatch on July 7th. Turtle nesting season runs until the end of October.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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