green (Chelonia mydas)

Stranding Location: Cherry Grove, SC

Arrival Date: 03/17/2012

Age: juvenile

Weight: 5.16 kg (~11 lb)

Case History

An unseasonably mild winter and warm spring have resulted in rapidly warming coastal South Carolina waters and the early return of sea turtles to nearshore feeding grounds. It was the luck of the Irish, perhaps, that this little green turtle was rescued from a marsh in northern South Carolina on St. Patrick’s Day, nearly two weeks earlier in the year than we’ve ever admitted a turtle before.

Treatment

Grover was very lethargic with a cloacal temperature of only 67 degrees Fahrenheit and a heart rate of 24 beats per minute at admittance. Attached to his carapace, which is shedding large sections of keratin, are multiple robust turtle barnacles, as well as algal strands and some small slippershells. Other than a few minor abrasions on the margins of his shell, Grover does not have any apparent external injuries. Initial blood work was relatively good (PCV 26%), and radiographs don’t reveal any obvious internal issues except for a little excess gas in the GI tract. Grover received antibiotics, injectable vitamins, and fluids before being placed in a small bin of very shallow water overnight.

Updates

25 March 2012: Grover’s fecal contained vegetation and spicules, which means he was ingesting plants and sponges just prior to admittance. This little green is swimming well in his tank, although he has refused to eat any of the yummy foods we’ve offered (romaine lettuce, mackerel, capelin, smelt, etc.). We’ll keep trying to stimulate his appetite.

19 April 2012: We determined that hyponatremia was causing Grover’s inappetance, as increasing the salinity in his tank worked like a charm to stimulate his appetite. He is now eagerly consuming romaine lettuce and a good amount of fish every day, and his prognosis is good!

7 June 2012: Grover’s beautiful shell is one of the first things hospital visitors see when they walk into our facility. This little green is not a finicky eater, which is great as he is eagerly consuming the organic produce donated by Earth Fare, a local “healthy” supermarket. Grover loves all types of lettuce, as well as celery, spinach, and asparagus. However, he is not a big fan of bell peppers! Grover will be evaluated for release next week, so stay tuned for details.

20 June 2012: Grover’s calcium phosphorus ratio is still not where we need it to be for release, so he is receiving extensive sun baths and more calcium in his diet. We hope to release this little green in the near future!

14 August 2012: Come see Grover return to the wild this Thursday at 3:00 P.M. at Beachwalker County Park!

Release Date

08/16/2012

Release Location

Beachwalker County Park, Kiawah, SC

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