Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii)

Stranding Location: Remley’s Point, Mt. Pleasant, SC

Arrival Date: 06/22/2014

Age: Juvenile

Weight: 2.4 kg (~5 lb.)

Case History

This little sea turtle is the second Kemp’s ridley admitted this month after being caught on hook-and-line by a recreational fisherman. A nearby resident safely confined this critically endangered species of turtle in a shaded kiddie pool until SCDNR arrived to transport it to our sea turtle hospital.

Treatment

Named “Remley” after his capture location, this spunky little turtle arrived in generally good body condition with a large hook seated deep in the oral cavity. After taking his heart rate (52 beats per minute) and an x-ray, the SCA’s veterinarian administered several sedatives to relax Remley. The hook removal process took approximately five minutes, after which Remley was dry-docked on foam overnight for observation. This little ridley was placed in a full tank of water the following morning and is expected to make a speedy recovery.

Updates

8 August 2014: Sadly, we lost Remley this week. Staff had noted that the little Kemp’s ridley started pulverizing some of his/her food just a few days prior but s/he was still active in the tank so s/he was being monitored. On Monday morning, x-rays confirmed that Remley had pneumonia and her bloodwork had declined. Remley was left in dry dock overnight and when staff arrived in the a.m., found that the turtle had passed. A necropsy was performed the same afternoon and findings point to acute sepsis (blood infection that affects the whole body). It is extremely rare for a sea turtle’s health to decline so rapidly and these are incredibly stoic animals, so the outward signs of illness were not apparent. We are truly saddened by this turn of events.