Fontina | South Carolina Aquarium


Dec 21


Loggerhead (Caretta caretta)

Stranding Location: Cape Cod, MA
Arrival Date: 12/15/23
Age: Juvenile
Sex: Unknown
Weight: 12.09 kg (26.6 lbs)

Case History

This turtle is one of many that stranded up in the New England area due to cold stunning. New England Aquarium (NEAQ) treats hundreds of sea turtles during a just few months throughout the winter. This year we were able to take five of these turtles to help lighten their load, at least a little. This turtle originally stranded in Cape Cod, Massachusetts on November 29, 2023. We coordinated with NEAQ, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the non-profit organization Turtles Fly Too to transfer these patients to the Aquarium. Pilot Andy Davidson and his wife Karie flew Fontina, and the others, to Charleston on December 15!


Fontina is one of the two larger loggerhead sea turtles that we received from NEAQ. Upon arrival, the heart rate was strong which is always a good sign. Fontina was displaying big energy levels by not being very cooperative for treatments. However, this patient eventually allowed us to give antibiotics and fluids, take a blood sample, get a radiograph and do an ultrasound! Radiographs showed some bone density issues in the right radius and other imaging from NEAQ showed us that Fontina has a mild case of pneumonia. After all treatments were completed, this patient was placed in a tank. We were proud to see that Fontina had no trouble navigating the water column and was taking great breaths!


December 19, 2023: Fontina has had a busy first week with us! This patient continues to be monitored closely for any potential stiffness in the right front flipper from the bone density issues. So far, so good though! Fontina has a big appetite and is eating all offered food items. Hopefully we can start offering oral vitamins and maybe even enrichment soon!

January 15, 2024: Fontina continues to show no signs of stiffness in the right front flipper, which is excellent. As we hoped, this past month Fontina has started to take oral vitamins! This is positive news because we are now able to give calcium supplementation to help increase the bone density in the right radius.

February 15, 2024: Fontina has made great strides even in this short amount of time with us: defecating often, eating well and exhibiting natural behaviors. We were keeping a close eye on radiographs of the right radius, but this area has shown improvement! Fontina was tagged earlier this month and we are awaiting bloodwork results to determine if this little loggerhead will be cleared for release!

February 26, 2024: Today this juvenile loggerhead sea turtle had a big day. Fontina is one of the first of the cold stuns from the New England Aquarium to go home! S/he was successfully released at Little Talbot Island State Park along with nine other rehabilitated patients. Wish Fontina the best of luck out in the big blue!

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