Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas)
Arrival Date: September 28th, 2016
Stranding Location: Hunting Island, SC
Weight: 8.0 lbs
The Sea Turtle Care Center staff is always on call, allowing our patients to get quick medical attention if need be. Stranded sea turtles know no holidays or weekends, which means the staff must always be ready to drop everything and admit a sick or injured sea turtle. As our sea turtle rescue team was getting ready for the annual Jammin’ for Jammer fundraiser on Isle of Palms, we received a call about a little green sea turtle that was caught by a fisherman on Hunting Island. Luckily, staff was still at the aquarium and able to set up in preparation. With the help of stranding transporter Amber Keuhn from Hilton Head, SCDNR was able to quickly get Hunting to the South Carolina Aquarium.
Upon arrival, Hunting was very lethargic, had his/her eyes closed, with a low heart and respiration rate. Radiographs were quickly taken and revealed that part of the hook still remained embedded in the turtle’s mouth. The hook was blocking the glottis (opening of the trachea) which was making it difficult for Hunting to breath. Routine supportive care including vitamins, fluids and antibiotics were given and blood was processed. Once Hunting was sedated, Dr. Shane Boylan was able to successfully remove the hook without surgery. Once this little green recovered from sedation, he/she became very active and heart rate and breathing went back to normal. Hunting was dry docked in the medical facility overnight and was placed in a full tank of salt water in the hospital the next morning.
October 1, 2016: Hunting is doing really well and is very active in his/her tank! Staff has added a variety of enrichment including backscratchers, a “cave”, a pvc head tube and synthetic “sea grass” in order to provide this little green numerous places to hide and rest. After being placed in the tank s/he proceeded to check out her new surroundings and curiously interacted with all of the enrichment items! Due to the swelling of the glottis, food has not be offered yet but we are hoping to within the next few days.
October 17, 2016: This adorable little green sea turtle is hungry for fish! S/he loves eating the protein portion of the diet, and often times refuses to eat the veggies! In order to spark his/her vegetarian side we have been offering romaine, dandelion greens, red pepper, tomato, red leaf and green leaf lettuce. So far, all we have gotten are a few nibbles here and there of dandelion greens! It’s not uncommon for juvenile greens to take awhile to warm up to the veggie diet, so in the meantime we will continue to feed Hunting various types of fish in addition to offering a small “garden” of greens.
November 3, 2016: Hunting received his/her last dose of antibiotics this week. Hunting is grazing on greens more often, especially at night, and is fond of dandelion greens, cucumbers, and is warming up to zucchini.
November 20, 2016: Hunting has warmed up to eating the “garden of greens” we offer him. Hunting was pulled for an exam this week and is gaining weight, which means s/he’s eating more greens than before!
December 15, 2016: Sully was pulled for bloodwork and an exam this week. Sully’s blood work has improved immensely since admit, and he/she continues to gain weight! We are so proud of the progress s/he has made! Sully continues to thrive and we are confident that s/he is on track to be a released candidate this spring!
January 6, 2017: Hunting is doing fantastic and has been tagged for release! S/he eats the “garden of greens” every morning and afternoon and loves to swim through the seaweed. We are excited to wish Hunting farewell in the near future!
January 18, 2017: Bid Hunting a bon voyage as s/he will be released this Thursday! Hunting will be released in Florida due to warmer ocean water temperatures, but also because it is part of the seasonal migration pattern of juvenile green sea turtles. Stay connected via our Facebook page!
January 19, 2017
Surfside County Park in St. Augustine, Florida