Loggerhead (Caretta caretta)
Stranding Location: North Litchfield, SC
Arrival Date: 05/17/2016
Age: Adult female
Weight: 86 kg (190 lbs.)
At 7:30 am on May 17th, a beach walker on North Litchfield spotted a very large sea turtle at the water’s edge near Loggerhead Lane and Magnolia Beach. The turtle appeared unable to move and was covered in barnacles and other marine growth, so the walker reported the distressed sea turtle to Jeff McClary, head of the S.C.U.T. E. (South Carolina United Turtle Enthusiasts) turtle nest protection teams. Jeff quickly responded to the stranding and, after making the official report to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), helped to gently load the emaciated loggerhead into the vehicle for Terry Graham and Debbie to transport to the South Carolina Aquarium.
Once at the South Carolina Aquarium, this large adult female was transported on a cart and scale to the Animal Medical Facility on the first floor. It was here that veterinarian and sea turtle rescue program staff were able to get to work stabilizing this minimally responsive turtle. Named Magnolia after her stranding location, it was evident that this turtle had not been eating or moving for some time. She was emaciated, covered in barnacles, and made little effort to move, only to lift her head every few minutes to breath. Blood revealed anemia and low blood glucose, both of which are to be expected with a debilitated turtle. Fluids, vitamins, and antibiotics were all given, and vitals such as heart rate and papillary reflex were all routinely checked. After fluids were given slowly with an IV drip line, Magnolia was placed down in the Sea Turtle Hospital in a very shallow tank of salt water. Staff kept a very close eye on her throughout the day to make sure she was able to come up easily for air.
24 May 2016: After several days of supportive care and being held in extremely shallow water, Magnolia has now been moved to a filtered hospital tank! We are happy to report that her activity level has increased dramatically in just a week! She is now swimming around and actively searching for food. Staff is slowly increasing her diet and she is now being fed at 0.5% of her body weight. Due to her large size, this means she is already eating over a pound of food! It is definitely a rewarding experience to witness the early stages of her recovery.
7 June 2016: This big girl continues to slowly recover from severe emaciation. She is bright, alert and relatively active. With a current diet at 1.5 percent of her body weight, that’s a lot of food, folks! We’re currently administering calcium injections to treat bone decalcification caused by long-term malnutrition.
8 September 2016: Due to the hospital being at capacity, Magnolia was transferred to Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach where they helped continue her recovery. She’s now set to be released tomorrow from Huntington Beach State Park.
September 10, 2016
Huntington Beach State Park