False Crawls

posted: June 4, 2022, 11:40 AM

So far this year we have 13 nests on our beach and we've also had 17 false crawls. A false crawl is when a mother turtle comes up onto the beach--but for some reason she doesn't lay her eggs. There are several reasons why she changes her mind: she could have been frightened (possibly people on the beach or loud noises) or perhaps she didn't like the feel of the sand or perhaps she just couldn't find the "perfect' place for her nest. When a false crawl happens the mother turtle goes back into the ocean. Hopefully she'll find a better location down the beach or will try again the next night. If this happens several times she may lose this whole clutch of eggs.

This morning there were three false crawls. These photos are of false crawl #15. When the morning rider found the mother turtle's tracks they called out a team of volunteers to search for the eggs. This team found this unusual crawl. It looks like the mother turtle was searching for just the right spot. You can tell from the length of the crawl at the water line that she came in during high tide and stayed a while (because the tracks on the left are a little longer). But the team dug and dug and couldn't find eggs. This mother had 38" flipper width. Maybe she'll be back tomorrow.

Good news this morning was Nest # 13! We don't think it's the same mother turtle because her flipper width was only 34 inches.

**This conservation work for protected sea turtles on Holden Beach is authorized by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission (ES Permit 22ST11).**

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