Green (Chelonia mydas)
Stranding Location: Kiawah Island
Arrival Date: 4/2/2023
Weight: 2.73 kg (6 lbs)
This little green sea turtle stranded on the beach on Kiawah Island late at night on April 1 and was picked up by permit holder, Cindy Lockhart. The turtle was then transported to the Sea Turtle Care Center™ for rehabilitation.
Upon admit Through their intake, Andrey was alert, responsive and was taking great breaths. The admit process involves taking heart rate, counting respirations, taking a blood sample, photographing injuries, conducting diagnostic imaging, a full exam and taking measurements. After their exam and reading their blood results, it was determined that Andrey stranded due to debilitated turtle syndrome. They were very thin and had a moderate epibiota load of algae, barnacles and even a small crab! Blood levels showed us that their glucose was very low, they were dehydrated and anemic. Due to all of our findings, Andrey was given fluids, dextrose and multiple antibiotics. They were too weak to be placed in water for the night, so it was decided the best option was to wet dock them.
April 15, 2023: At first, Andrey spent most of their time in a floating kiddie pool so that they could be in a tank shallow enough that they did not have to use a lot of energy to breathe. They continued to be lethargic, so we performed daily blood glucose checks and supplemented with dextrose fluids. These seemed to help and after several days, their levels were maintaining on their own and no longer needed to be supplemented. Once strong enough, Andrey was placed in shallow water in the tank and is now getting gradual depth increases. They struggled with eating at first but are now starting to turn a corner. Andrey has begun eating fish but is not interested in veggies yet. They do however like to try to hide under the lettuce, and it looks like they are wearing a hat! Andrey continues to improve but still has a way to go in the rehab process; send them all of the good vibes!
May 15, 2023: Andrey lost some weight this past month, so we increased their diet again. They are definitely eating better for us. This little nugget has a harder time with bigger pieces of fish, so they are getting finely minced fish and shrimp as well as thin pieces of lettuce and zucchini to help make it a little bit easier for them. Since the diet increase, they are maintaining weight. Hopefully we will see some weight gain soon!
June 15, 2023: Andrey has been doing well! Andrey has started to slowly regain some of the weight that they had lost. We are offering them a variety of veggies and fish. Still not super interested in most of the veggies, but it seems that green pepper may be a new favorite!
August 15, 2023: Andrey continues to gain weight and is starting to look like a very healthy turtle! Previously, this tiny turtle was underweight, and one of the easiest visual cues of an underweight sea turtle is what their bottom shell, or plastron, looks like. If the plastron is concave at all, that typically means the turtle is underweight, which previously was the case with Andrey. But after many weeks of rehab and gradual weight gains, Andrey’s plastron has evened out. This is very exciting milestone for Andrey! In the past few weeks Andrey was tagged and we are waiting on bloodwork results in order to determine if this patient is ready to go home. Here’s to hoping this little green passes with flying colors!
July 15, 2023: Great news: You can now see Andrey up in Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery™! Andrey has been making big strides in rehab. We were able to give Andrey a little bit of tough love since they’ve been putting on weight. This means we were giving Andrey normal-sized fish pieces and even fish pieces with skin on them. And guess what?! Our previously needy patient has turned in to a “normal” turtle and can now eat them with ease! We are so proud of Andrey and cannot wait to watch them continue to improve!
August 22, 2023: Surprise! Andrey was released today in the beautiful Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. This is a great spot for sea turtles to be released because it is a protected wildlife area with lots of great places for foraging and hunting!