loggerhead/green (Caretta caretta/Chelonia mydas)
Stranding Location: First Encounter Beach, Eastham, MA
Arrival Date: 01/15/2012
Weight: 8.82 kg (~19 lb)
Eclipse is one of seven sea turtles transferred to the SCA’s Sea Turtle Hospital on January 15th, 2012, from the New England Aquarium (NEAq). All seven turtles originally cold-stunned around Cape Cod, MA, in November and December 2011, and were initially treated by NEAq’s Marine Animal Rescue Team. Thanks to the owner of North American Jets, Mason Holland, and the pilot of the fuel-efficient Eclipse 500 jet, Andy Smith, these 7 turtles received complimentary first-class airfare to our facility to finish their rehabilitation. This transfer not only aids NEAq by freeing up limited resources, but also will allow these seven sea turtles to be released back into the wild at an earlier date.
Eclipse is a first hybrid sea turtle our hospital has ever treated. DNA analysis is pending, but this turtle possesses physical traits characteristic of both loggerhead and green turtles. Thanks to the efforts of the NEAq, Eclipse was in good condition upon admittance to our hospital and is not currently on any medications.
20 February 2012: This beautiful turtle continues to amaze staff and visitors! Although Eclipse’s small head most resembles a green sea turtle, s/he doesn’t have the serrated beak typical of that species and instead has the smooth beak of a loggerhead. Once she’s returned to the wild, will she eat sea grass like a green, or crabs like a loggerhead? Will her beak allow her to efficiently consume sea grass? Will her small head have enough muscle to crunch through crustacean and mollusk shells?
22 March 2012: Eclipse is gaining weight and doing very well in our hospital. This hybrid continues to refuse to eat vegetables like lettuce, but she did a great job catching and eating her first live blue crab today! She was immediately intrigued by the crab and only took a few minutes to consume both large claws and remove all the other appendages from the body. Unfortunately, the crab’s shell was too tough for her to crunch through, so we had to break the carapace for her. However, her jaw will grow stronger as she grows larger. We are hoping this turtle will be a candidate for release this spring.
Isle of Palms County Park, SC