Sometimes you don’t actually have to see the turtle to know which species has been on a beach. When nesting females come onto a beach, they leave tracks or “crawls” made by their front flippers. These “crawls” are distinctive for each species.
- Parallel flipper marks as from a “butterfly-stroke” crawling pattern
- Ridged track center with a thin, straight, and well-defined tail-drag mark that is punctuated by tail-point marks
- Extensive markings from front flippers at the margins of the track and extending the total track width to 6 to 7 feet
Sometimes a female will go up onto a beach and decide that she doesn’t want to lay a nest there. This is called a “false crawl.”