Green (Chelonia mydas)
Stranding Location: Calibogue Sound, Hilton Head Island, SC
Arrival Date: 12/26/22
Weight: 9.86 kg (21.69 lbs)
In the last two weeks of the year, most of the United States experienced extreme cold weather from a polar vortex, including the Lowcountry. As air and water temperatures dropped rapidly for several days, Andromeda was one of two turtles that stranded in the same area due to cold stunning that day. Andromeda’s body temperature was in the 50s when they were found floating in a waterway near Caliboque Sound. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) volunteer transporter Cindy Lockhart was dispatched and met Hilton Head Island Turtle Team leader and SCDNR permit holder Amber Kuehn halfway to bring Andromeda the rest of the way to the South Carolina Aquarium.
Andromeda was one of two green turtles transported to the Sea Turtle Care Center™ due to cold stunning. Andromeda was a little more active than the other cold stuns that had been admitted that week. Andromeda’s heart rate and respiration rate were both low as a result of cold stunning but a heart rate was able to be taken and a blood sample was obtained. X-rays were taken and it appeared that pneumonia was present in their lungs. Andromeda received fluids, vitamins and was started on antibiotics to help combat any secondary infections. Andromeda was left to rest comfortably in a foam-padded bin in a slightly warmer room so that their body temperature could acclimate overnight.
January 15, 2023: The following day, Andromeda’s body temperature was increased, and they were able to be placed in a shallow water tank. Over the next few days, Andromeda received fluids and another followup with the vet team to recheck their bloodwork and retake x-rays. In-house bloodwork has improved since admit, and they are still receiving antibiotics. Andromeda is still not eating well and will continue to receive fluids on their antibiotic injection days. Sometimes it takes a patient a little while to get used their new, temporary environment before they start eating.
February 15, 2023: Andromeda has been a picky eater like their tank mate, Orion. But unlike Orion, they will eat their fish but not their veggies! In order to encourage them to eat their veggies, we offer those to them first and wait until they have finished them before offering fish. This seems to be working well! Maybe you can see them in Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery™ soon!
March 15, 2023: Andromeda’s appetite has finally kicked in and they are eating much better now and beginning to gain weight. They are still a bit picky about their veggies, and definitely prefer the lettuces over the other vegetables. Overall though, we are happy with their progress. They improved so much that we were able to move them up to Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery™, and they are a new crowd favorite! We’ve been introducing them to new types of enrichment, and they are having a blast playing with them! Andromeda loves their backscratcher so much that they can be seen rubbing on it for hours at a time. Similar to how sea turtles rub on rocks or corals in the wild, Andromeda has been able to use the backscratcher to remove most of the barnacles from their carapace.
April 15, 2023: Surprise! Andromeda was released this week in Florida at Little Talbot Island State Park. Water temperatures in South Carolina are still slightly chilly, so we took them and six other turtles down to warmer waters! Wish them good luck!