Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii)

Stranding Location: Myrtle Beach State Park, SC

Arrival Date: 05/30/2013

Age: juvenile

Weight: 5.44 kg (~12 lb.)

Case History

King, a small 6 lb. Kemp’s ridley was caught by a recreational fisherman on hook-and-line at Myrtle Beach State Park. Myrtle Beach State Park Rangers and Barbara Gobien (SCDNR stranding and STH volunteer) coordinated transport of this turtle to our hospital.


Besides the hook, King’s condition upon arrival was fairly good, with decent initial blood (PCV 29%, TS 2.0) and a healthy heart rate of 48 bpm! Luckily, our vet Dr. Boylan was able to remove the hook non-surgically using a mild sedative, a bite block, and a couple of tools. This will drastically reduce King’s stay in our hospital, which is great news! King is a little thin, but will get back to a healthy weight while in our care.


7 July 2013: King has developed a large, deep abscess on the back of his neck and is now on antibiotics. Surgical abscess debridement is likely going to be necessary, and what was initially going to be a quick stay in our hospital has now been prolonged significantly.

23 July 2013: King’s abscess was surgically debrided yesterday afternoon. The debridement procedure was intense, as this was the deepest abscess we have dealt with in a long time, but the majority of the affected tissue was removed and the procedure went well. King recovered in dry dock overnight and was returned to his tank this morning. We are hoping the abscess won’t reform over the next couple months!

7 October 2013: King is currently enjoying having a large filtered tank all to himself as his tank-mates, Dennis and Parker, were released in mid-September. King’s neck abscess, which prevented his release, was surgically debrided a second time several weeks ago. We are very satisfied with how it is healing and are hopeful this issue won’t delay his return to the wild much longer.

Release Date

5 December 2013

Release Location

Cape Canaveral National Seashore

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