Fripp Island Loggerhead Patrol
Nest Locating Tips

  1. If there is a distinct well defined body pit then there will be a nest.

  2. If  there is a large differential between the length of  the two tracks then she spent a lot of time on the beach. What was she doing?

  3. Don't start probing right away. Take a few minutes to look at the details of the body pit. Approach the area as though it were a crime scene. Don't contaminate it with footprints until you have determined the sequence of events. Which track was the incoming track vs. the outgoing track, which way was she facing, in which direction was the sand thrown, where is the mark the edge of the shell makes as she makes her final turn before leaving the nest?  These clues can save a lot of probing time.

  4. Some nests can be quite deep and require a little bit of extra pressure on the probe.

  5. If there is more than one body pit  it is most likely that the last one before the exit crawl is where you will find the nest.

  6. Persistence and determination will result in success. If you run out of time and have to leave  call someone else to take over.

  7. If you can't find the nest chamber but all the signs are there then mark the whole body pit with flagging tape and place a stick behind it with the date and a question mark. These are reported as wild nests should they hatch out some 55 + days later.

Above all else you must remember that just when you think you have it all figured out you learn something new, because turtles, like people, are all individuals and prone to doing things their own way.

Tony Natoli