Green (Chelonia mydas)
Stranding Location: Folly Beach, SC
Arrival Date: 4/12/23
Weight: 3.98 kg (8.7 lbs)
Mozzarella, a juvenile green sea turtle, was found floating and unable to dive in Folly Creek by our friends at Charleston Outdoor Adventures. They reported the stranding, and South Carolina Department of Natural Resources staff members, Jeff Schwenter and Meredith Bean, responded to transport the turtle to the Sea Turtle Care Center™ for treatment.
Mozzarella was alert and responsive during the admit process. They received all of our standard treatments for a new patient: heart rate check, radiographs, blood work, full physical exam, photographs and measurements. Though they were in decent body condition, we discovered that they have a severe case of pneumonia. Mozzarella was placed on multiple antibiotics and on a schedule to monitor changes in their lungs through diagnostic imaging. We attempted to place Mozzarella in shallow water in a kiddie pool but after watching them, we decided we did not feel comfortable leaving them in water overnight and decided to wet dock them.
April 15, 2023: Mozzarella is now in a shallow tank of water! They have shown us that they are strong enough to handle it. They are still floaty and having a hard time diving, so the tank water level is being kept low. The buoyancy issues appear to be a result of the severe case of pneumonia in their lungs. On a positive note, they immediately started eating like a champ and pooping! The nutrients in their food will help them make strides in their healing process, so we are excited to see them foraging well. We will start increasing the water depth once they can rest comfortably on the bottom.
May 15, 2023: This past month, Mozzarella was still on the floaty side, so we decided it was time to try them in deeper water to see how they would handle it. Turns out they surprised us all! Mozzarella started diving and were level within the water column. We also took another CT scan, and their pneumonia has stayed about the same. Due to this, staff decided to extend their antibiotic injections. With all of that being said, Mozzarella does appear to be brighter and more active — especially with their seagrass or ball enrichment. They are normally seen pushing it around their tank!