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FIRST ON 3: Record number of false turtle crawls reported at Holden Beach

READ MORE: Record number of false turtle crawls reported at Holden Beach

HOLDEN BEACH, NC (WWAY) -- Watching a turtle lay its eggs can be a rare site, but some eager onlookers could be to blame for those eggs not being laid at all on one Brunswick County beach.

Each summer turtles make their way out of the ocean and onto the shores of Holden Beach to build nests. Sometimes, though, excited tourists can scare the turtle away and back into the ocean before it's able to lay its eggs. It's called a false crawl, and it can lead to the loss of more than 120 hatchlings.

"She has a very short time frame for laying her nest. If she can't find a satisfactory nesting site, she'll go back in the water, and then she'll drop her eggs in the water," said Skip Hager of the Holden Beach Turtle Patrol. If that happens the eggs are ruined.

Usually the turtle patrol finds an equal number of nests and false crawls, but so far this summer it's had 20 false crawls and just 12 nests.

If you see a turtle: do not take flash photos. Keep quiet. Do not touch or get close to her. Call the Holden Beach Sea Turtle Stranding at (910) 754-0766 and wait for a call back. Stand back and watch quietly.

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