Nesting Patrol

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Nesting Patrol

Nesting begins in May and usually ends in mid-August.   Sometime during mid-May, the "Turtle Truck" is gassed up and ready to go!  Each morning just before sunrise, the volunteers meet and hop in to search for turtle nests.  

Are you ready too? Grab your beach towel and your camera and come along for the ride!

 

   

The Nesting Patrol uses the "Turtle Truck" to check the entire beach each morning for evidence of new nests.  

The truck carries all the  necessary supplies - screens, posts, rakes, and most importantly, volunteers!

Here is a female loggerhead with the "Turtle Truck".

Once the turtle tracks are located, the exit crawl is followed to determine where the turtle dug her nest.   Sometimes the mama turtle comes up to nest but for some reason: a disturbance, lights on the beach, etc. does not lay any eggs.  This is referred to as a false crawl.

You can tell the direction of a turtle track by looking at the "point" made by the mother's flipper.  The direction of the point shows where she came from.  That is how the Nesting Patrol determines which track is the exit track. 

A trained volunteer probes the nest in an attempt to find the eggs and pinpoint its exact location.  NEVER EVER DO THIS ON YOUR OWN!!  Only a trained person should search for the nest.  It is a delicate procedure that requires the utmost patience and care.

The person in this picture is none other than the fearless leader of the Kiawah Island Turtle Patrol!

The patrol carefully removes sand by hand to determine if eggs are present. Once the nest has been located, it is numbered, marked, and recorded. This information is given to the hatching patrols so they know when to start watching for hatchlings!

 

 

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Revised: March 14, 2015