PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - A group of scientists is looking into what may or may not have happened to a rare sea turtle nest in Pass Christian. A small patch of beach had been roped off there for months now where the nest was thought to have been.
"There was an obvious mound where it had probably laid some eggs," said Dr. Eric Pulis, a marine conservation ecologist with the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies. The mound showed up back in July, along with flipper prints in the sand to and from the mound into the water.
According to Pulis, the eggs should have hatched by now. But no evidence showed that happening yet, so Dr. Pulis and a crew from IMMS started their investigation.
They're hoping to find one of two things. Best case is eggs and no turtles, and the less thrilling alternative is eggs with turtles still inside, likely already dead.
"We're just going to look to see how much they developed before they stopped. Maybe the nest was infertile, maybe they got inundated with water and quit developing at some point," said Pulis.
This kind of nest is pretty rare on the mainland. Loggerheads usually lay their eggs out on the barrier islands, and that's what kind of turtle is suspected to have nested in the Pass.
"Usually about one a year that we see. We don't know how many are missed," said Pulis.
What this crew really hoped it wouldn't find was no evidence of eggs at all.
"It's like she dug a hole and buried it back up. But yeah, there's a chance we won't find anything," said Pulis while digging into the possible nest.
Unfortunately, that's exactly what seems to have happened. The crew found no eggs in the area Thursday, making it a false crawl.