Chum | South Carolina Aquarium


May 15


Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii)

Stranding Location: Caught by a fisherman in a creek in Beaufort, SC

Arrival Date: 4/29/17

Age: Juvenile

Weight: 2.7 kg (5.9 pounds)

Case History

On Saturday, a juvenile Kemp’s ridley was caught on hook-and-line by a fisherman in Beaufort, SC. The fisherman reeled in the turtle and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR). Chum was then transported to the Sea Turtle Care Center.


Upon admit, our team did an x-ray and found a sizable treble hook deep in Chum’s esophagus. Due to the location, size and type of hook, surgery was required for removal. Dr. Shane Boylan made an incision in the neck and esophagus, cut one of the barbs from the hook to aid in removal, gently removed each of the prongs of the hook one by one and stitched the patient back up. One of the prongs had punctured through the esophageal wall, something that is not uncommon with ingested hooks. Chum will need to be fasted for a minimum of 5 days to allow the wound to heal. If food is offered too soon, damage could be done to the incision site in the esophagus.


May 1, 2017: Chum is in a tank and doing very well – he is already very active.

May 11, 2017: Chum has recently been offered food, and his diet is slowly being increased. He is pulled from the tank every three days so we can check the incision site, get an updated weight and administer an antibiotic injection.

May 19, 2017: Chum is continuing to progress and is definitely one active turtle. It’s usually all or nothing with this one. He will either be resting on the bottom or zooming around the tank at high speed. The incision site is healing well, and Chum is continuing to receive routine antibiotic injections.

June 5, 2017: Chum is a famous little turtle as he was the first patient to move into Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery! His new tank is great. It is deeper and larger than his former home, which is probably why this little ball of energy is commonly seen energetically swimming around the tank. If you look really closely, you may see the sutures where the incision was made to surgically remove the hook. The incision is healing up nicely, and the sutures will be removed in the next week or so.

June 15, 2017: Chum has been doing well and loving his tank in Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery! Chum’s sutures were removed this week, and his incision site looks phenomenal. Chum may be a release candidate in the near future. Way to go, Chum!

July 1, 2017: Chum is currently being evaluated for release! On Tuesday, June 27, he received a PIT tag and a thorough physical exam. Once blood work results come back and are analyzed we will hopefully be receiving the “all clear” from Dr. Boylan to start planning for Chum’s release. In preparation, STCC staff has increased his diet in order to get a few more good meals in. Stay tuned for future release updates!

July 15, 2017: Chum is getting ready for his big day! He’s being released on July 19 at the Isle of Palms County Park. Chum’s come a long way and healed wonderfully since his journey from Beaufort, SC. He came in with a treble hook and it was removed after one surgery. Since then he’s been slowing gaining weight and winning the hearts of the Sea Turtle Care Center staff as well as aquarium guests. He’s now in wonderful body condition and his wound healed beautifully. We’re going to miss him but he’s ready to go home!

Release Date

July 19, 2017

Release Location

Isle of Palms County Park

Skip to content