Today In Local News: Turtle Has Embarrassing Mishap

Illustration for article titled Today In Local News: Turtle Has Embarrassing Mishap

Loggerhead turtles are magnificent beasts, ocean-going turtles who are found throughout the world. Nevertheless, they must venture ashore to lay eggs, where Homer Simpson-esque pratfalls occasionally befall them.

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For instance, one turtle went onto the beach in Anna Maria Island on Florida's gulf coast. She laid her eggs and headed back to the ocean. According to the Anna Maria Island Sun, a wily chair derailed her plans:

A loggerhead sea turtle was trapped under a beach lounge chair at the Harrington House bed and breakfast after laying her nest last week.

Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring staff members were conducting lighting inspections for the city of Holmes Beach when they discovered the turtle and set it free, Director Suzi Fox said.

If Glenn and Claudia Wiseman had not found her, she could have dragged the chair into the water and drowned, Fox said.

She also could have died from dehydration, Glenn Wiseman said, adding that her shell was caught in the base of the chair.

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That turtle undoubtedly caught some good-natured flak from her fellow turtles once she got back to the ocean. A chair, Betsy, really? Stop rubbernecking and pay attention!

Now, maybe you think you and your crew can simply head on down to Florida, leave a few chairs on the beach, and have some good-natured fun at the turtles' expense. You'd be wrong. Turtle-interference is against the law:

If property owners are taking money from tourists, it’s up to the property owners to enforce the law, Fox said, which requires removing everything from the nesting beach at night, including chairs, umbrellas, umbrella anchors, beach tents, boats and grills from May 1 to Oct. 31. Where severe erosion makes that impossible, Turtle Watch has asked owners to at least stack and chain their chairs as far landward as possible at night.

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Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer spoke with Davis about the issue and said the problem has been corrected.

He also went to properties in the 6900 to 7100 block of Holmes Beach where Turtle Watch had reported similar problems, and removed four or five beach tents and several chairs, he said, adding that the owners can pick up their property at the police station at 5801 Marina Drive.

“First, we’re trying to educate,” Tokajer said, adding that he may decide to impose fines if property owners don’t comply. City fines range between $75 and $200, he said, while state penalties include arrest.

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Conduct yourself accordingly, glory boys.

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