Another False Crawl

posted: June 26, 2017, 6:16 PM

"Did a truck drive into the ocean?” ---this was one of the questions a beach walker asked our ATV rider this morning. No that’s not a truck, that’s what we call a “turtle crawl”. These are the tracks a mother turtle leaves in the sand when she comes a shore. They can be very large and resemble the tracks made by a truck or an ATV. Some of the mother turtles can weigh over 300 pounds and have a flipper width of over 30” --- so the tracks are very deep and wide. This “crawl” is what the Turtle Patrol riders look for each morning as they ride the beach. The “crawl” may lead to where the mother laid eggs, or they maybe a “false crawl”, where the mother came ashore but did not lay the eggs.

As of this morning we have 21 turtle nests on Holden Beach and we know of at least 1357 eggs (because we’ve moved 12 of those 21 nests.) There have also been 44 false crawls. For a while earlier in the month we had many crawls and nests each day. The number of nests being laid has slowed down, but we have at least 5-6 more weeks in the nesting season. We are expecting our first hatchlings in 2-3 weeks.

Our morning rider today reported false crawl #44, but also saw several piles of chairs and fishing rods on the beach as well as some large sand castles with moats. Please remember to remove these items and fill in any holes you dig on the beach before leaving the beach each day. These items can become an obstacle for the mother turtle that may result in a false crawl---her going back to the ocean without laying her eggs.

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