Kemp’s Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii)
Stranding Location: Cherry Grove Pier, North Myrtle Beach, SC
Arrival Date: 5/6/2020
Weight: 11 kg (24lb)
Elliot was hooked by a fisherman off Cherry Grove Pier in the evening on Wednesday May, 6. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) stranding volunteers responded to the call and were unable to successfully remove the circle hook from Elliot’s tongue. SCDNR permit holder, Linda Mataya then transported Elliot to the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Care Center for further treatment and care.
Upon arrival staff noticed that Elliot was in good body condition overall and it seemed the hook was the major issue. We took vitals, drew blood to begin processing, and then lightly sedated Elliot to remove the hook. It was easy to access, being close to the front edge of the tongue but was significantly bent up. This made it a bit difficult to remove. After a few minutes of trying the hook popped out! Elliot was given fluids, antibiotics, injectable vitamins, and left to sleep off the sedation medications overnight.
May 11th, 2020: Elliot was placed in a tank the following morning. He spent most of the day agitated – swimming against the sides of the tank, splashing, and floating periodically. This is not uncommon as it does take patients a few days to fully acclimate to their new surroundings. Since then, he has calmed down but has yet to show interest in food. This is also not uncommon nor is it of too much concern until it has been a week or two. The turtles do not always realize the weird looking fish we keep dropping in their tanks is meant to be food! Once they figure out how yummy it is though, then we are smooth sailing. Elliot should begin to turn that corner in the next week or so.
June 1, 2020: Elliot has been doing well since his last update! We have increased his tank to full, and have started giving him normal diet increases to help him get his weight up. Elliot still has a few more antibiotic injections left, but is otherwise doing well.
July 15, 2020: Elliot recently moved up to Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery, and is settling in to his new and larger tank well! Elliot will be getting a blood draw soon to see how he has improved since arriving. Hopefully all comes back looking great, so fingers crossed!