Chaz | South Carolina Aquarium


Jan 22


Loggerhead (Caretta caretta)

Stranding Location: Brewster, Massachusetts

Arrival Date: 1/11/2016

Age: Juvenile

Weight: 18.54 kg (41 lb.)

Case History


This cold-stunned loggerhead was found stranded in Brewster, Massachusetts and taken to New England Aquarium (NEAq) for treatment of hypothermia. After a week of supportive care, this turtle was deemed stable enough to be transferred here to the SC Aquarium (SCA) to complete his/her rehabilitation. Chaz is one of five loggerheads that was transported to South Carolina via a charter flight, generously donated by Worcester Airport. To show our gratitude, we have affectionately named this patient after the pilot, Chaz Harris.

Chaz was one of five, cold-stunned turtles in the New England area. Out of the five, three, including Chaz, were admitted to our Sea Turtle Hospital (STH) and the other two will receive treatment at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. These turtles were part of a recent cold-stun event in the New England area that resulted in the stranding of more than 400 sea turtles on local beaches.


Upon admit at NEAq on 1/4/16, Chaz had a heart rate of 4 beats per minute (BPM), with a body temperature of only 5.1° C (41.1° F). Despite the low heart rate and temperature, the patient was in good body condition, and had fairly normal blood values. Radiographs were unremarkable and the turtle was started on a routine antibiotic course of Oxytetracycline. Upon arrival to the SCA on 1/11, hospital team and veterinarian took radiographs, pulled blood and performed a physical examination. Everything appeared good and Chaz was placed in a 75 °, 700 gallon tank down in the STH. Staff will monitor Chaz closely for any abnormal behavior or buoyancy irregularities and will continue to give an injection every six days. Prognosis is good.


12 January 2016: Chaz was offered small pieces of fish today, which he/she eagerly consumed. This marks Chaz’s first time eating since stranding a week ago.

16 January 2016: Chaz is doing great! S/he seems to be settling in and taking well to the new warmer environment. Chaz is often seen leisurely swimming around or resting on the bottom of the tank. S/he has continued to eat well the past few days, and is now eating 1% of his/her body weight (BW). The amount of food will slowly be increased over the next few weeks until s/he is eating 3% BW. Due to his/her healthy appetite and activity level, we are hopeful that Chaz will make a quick recovery.

22 January 2016: Chaz is continuing to eat well. We are offering 1% BW of food until a reliable fecal is produced. It is important when feeding debilitated sea turtles to not overwhelm their GI tract. Staff will continue to monitor closely and adjust the diet accordingly.

18 April 2016: Chaz has continued to do great over the past few months. S/he is now being fed 2% BW, and is steadily gaining weight and growing. Later this month, STH staff will be re-checking blood work to better determine how much longer s/he will need to stay at the hospital. Hospital staff are optimistic that results will show good blood values and are predicting a May release!

Release Date

May 10, 2016

Release Location

Isle of Palms County Park

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