Chiquita is one of fifteen sea turtles transferred from the New England Aquarium (NEAq) to the South Carolina Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital on November 20, 2014. This green sea turtle was one of more than a thousand sea turtles afflicted with severe hypothermia and recovered (alive or dead) from the beaches and nearshore waters of Massachusetts during an unprecedented cold-stunning event in late November 2014. Thanks to the generosity of a private flight donated by Margie and Will Dorminy, owners of Southern Eagle Distributing in Charleston, we are proud to be one of more than 17 facilities nationwide to aid NEAq in caring for the massive number of threatened and endangered sea turtles stranded due to this cold-stunning event.
Chiquita, named after the banana boxes commonly used by NEAq to transport small sea turtles, was the lone green sea turtle in the group of cold-stuns flown from Massachusetts to South Carolina on the 20th. Although her initial assessment by NEAq staff after stranding denoted a core body temperature of 53.6°F, she was otherwise in good shape with clear eyes, a clear mouth, and no other notable health concerns. Despite her relatively normal swimming behavior at NEAq, Chiquita’s behavior after her transfer to our sea turtle hospital was a bit worrisome for a couple weeks. She remained lethargic and resting on the bottom of her tank, only surfacing to breath, and she refused to eat any of the lettuces or fish we enticed her with. Finally, after continued persistence by staff, she began to occasionally nibble at shrimp and squid in early December. A vitamin B complex injection with fluids on December 4th seemed to stimulate her appetite as this little green has been eating well for us since the 5th. She now enjoys the organic romaine and green leaf lettuce we’ve been offering, in addition to the salmon and mackerel that make up the protein portion of her diet.