loggerhead (Caretta caretta)

Stranding Location: In water near Isle of Palms, SC

Arrival Date: 06/07/2012

Age: subadult

Weight: 69 kg (152 lb)

Case History

This subadult loggerhead was originally captured by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources research vessel, the Lady Lisa, during the course of their annual trawling surveys to monitor the health and status of sea turtle populations off the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia. Unfortunately, the net Charlie was captured in also contained an irascible southern stingray that managed to insert its barb into Charlie’s neck and left front flipper multiple times. Charlie was initially treated on board the Lady Lisa while awaiting transfer to our hospital.

Treatment

Upon arrival to our hospital, Charlie’s puncture wounds and lacerations were flushed and inspected to ensure no pieces of the stingray barb remained. This big loggerhead received pain meds and antibiotics, as well as anti-inflammatories to combat the envenomation. Blood work is amazingly good compared to most of the turtles that are admitted to our hospital (hematocrit 41, total protein 4.6), but that’s because Charlie was a healthy animal that was thriving in the wild before being stung by the stingray. Charlie is resting comfortably in a filtered tank, and his prognosis is good.

Updates

8 July 2012: Charlie is one picky eater! He is only the second turtle in my experience who won’t eat fish (and we serve restaurant quality seafood here!). Instead, Charlie will only eat crabs. Luckily, we have a few wonderful volunteers who’ve been diligently setting and monitoring crab traps to ensure Charlie never goes hungry. Of course, these traps are equipped with terrapin excluder devices, which prevent diamondback terrapins from entering the traps and drowning. Charlie is currently consuming 3+ crabs each and every day and, since this is a natural prey item for him, we are confident that this diet will keep him healthy. Plus, his hunting skills will be in top form for release, which we hope will be soon.

29 July 2012: Charlie has recovered well from the minor surgical procedure he underwent on the 25th to remove the build-up of caseous exudate in the wound tracts associated with the stingray barb wounds to his shoulder. We will flush these wound tracts as needed over the next couple of weeks, and hopefully Charlie will be fit for release once the incision heals.

3 September 2012: Charlie is being tagged tomorrow in preparation for release. Keep checking our website for a release date!

Release Date

10/19/2012

Release Location

Boat Release – just offshore Kiawah Island, SC

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