Drogon | South Carolina Aquarium


Dec 11


Loggerhead (Caretta caretta)

Stranding Location: Norfolk, VA

Arrival Date: 11/29/2017

Age: Juvenile

Weight: 44.30 kg (97.6 pounds)

Case History

This juvenile loggerhead was cold stunned and stranded on 11/16 at the Little Creek Joint Expedition Naval Base in Virginia. Once rescued, he was quickly brought to the Virginia Aquarium where he was treated for cold stunning (hypothermia). With a body temperature of only 58.1 F, Drogon was slowly warmed up over the course of the next few days. Once he was stable, arrangements were made with South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to transfer this turtle and two other loggerheads, named Rhaegal and Viserion, here to the South Carolina Aquarium. On 11/29, the three loggerheads arrived in style via private jet piloted by Paul Schubert. Paul has generously donate his time and services to transport turtles not just to the aquarium but other facilities as well. Sea Turtle Care Center (STCC) staff anxiously awaited the arrival of the three cold stun loggerheads from Virginia, picked them up at the Mount Pleasant Regional Airport and transported them the final leg of their trip to the South Carolina Aquarium.


Once at the aquarium Drogon’s vitals were checked and radiographs taken. Drogon was lethargic but had a strong heart rate of 20 bpm. Radiographs revealed bronchitis so he was started on two antibiotics. After a thorough check by Dr. Shane Boylan, Drogon was moved placed in a shallow tank to rest comfortably overnight.


December 4, 2017: Drogon has perked up over the last few days, but is still on the quieter side. He is interested in food but appears to have difficulty grasping and swallowing the fish pieces. STCC staff is monitoring him closely and assist feeding him with tongs.

December 15, 2017: The first few days after Drogon was admitted to our Care Center, he had some trouble eating. Though he had an appetite, he struggled to open his jaw wide enough to grab the fish so small pieces were very important. However, over the course of the last week we have observed an improvement in his ability to eat overall. Drogon also has a severe case of pneumonia and is still on antibiotics. With antibiotics on board and time, Drogon should continue to improve.

January 15, 2018: Drogon has really improved over the last few weeks! Drogon is eating full diets like a champ and has become very strong and feisty when being pulled for antibiotic injections.

February 1, 2018: Drogon also received a CT scan with Rhaegal to check on the pneumonia in his lungs. His lungs have improved, but like Rhaegal, we are monitoring them closely to make sure the infection is completely gone.

February 15, 2018: Drogon is enjoying his new digs in Sea Turtle Recovery! Last week, we moved Drogon to a larger tank in Recovery! Come check him out!

March 1, 2018: Drogon was also sedated for a repeat CT scan this week to assess how his lungs are looking. CT scan results showed that his lungs are looking clear and that pneumonia is no longer present, which is great news!

March 15, 2018: Last week Drogon received an eye exam by Dr. Cook to check out his eyes. When Drogon was first admitted, he had a cataract present in his left eye, most likely caused by trauma. Overall, Drogon is looking great and will hopefully be a release candidate soon!

April 1, 2018: Drogon has been doing great and is one of our more active and splashy patients in Recovery right now. Hopefully, Drogon will be a release candidate in the next few weeks!

April 15, 2018: Drogon is going to be pulled for tagging, blood work and a pre-release exam next week! Stay tuned for more details to come!

May 15, 2018: Sometimes sea turtle patients flunk tests- such as blood values and vitamin levels. Drogon’s vitamin D level is not quite high enough for him to be cleared for release just yet. He’s almost ready!

June 1, 2018, Drogon had his blood pulled last week to assess his vitamin D levels. They have not changed much but since he is so robust and otherwise healthy, we are still thinking about evaluating him for release. We’ll see!

Release Date

June 8, 2018

Release Location

Folly Beach County Park

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