Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii)
Stranding Location: Garden City, SC
Arrival Date: 5/12/23
Weight: 2.06 kg (4.54 lbs)
Gorgonzola was caught by an angler at the Garden City Fishing Pier in Horry County. The pier staff quickly responded by supporting the turtle with a dip net onto the pier, leaving a foot of line connected to the hook and securing it to the turtle South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) was contacted, and they dispatched the Garden City Turtle Team to transport the turtle to the Sea Turtle Care Center™ for hook removal.
Upon intake, the hook was clearly visible on the left side of the mouth, piercing through the soft tissue behind the jaw. Radiographs were taken promptly to ensure there were no other hooks within the esophagus before continuing with hook removal. As the hook was easily accessible and the wound relatively superficial, we were confident that the hook could be removed without sedation. The patient was alert and calm as vet staff carefully removed the hook. Fluids, vitamins and antibiotics were administered to treat the jaw wound, as well as pain medication. In most other aspects, the patient was in good health, and we decided they would do great in a full tank in Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery™!
May 15, 2023: Gorgonzola is doing great! They are swimming actively and eating quickly! They have been offered a backscratcher, though they seem to be more interested in their window reflection. Gorgonzola will continue on antibiotics for the next couple weeks to ensure their jaw wound heals nicely. Come see our active little patient!
June 15, 2023: Gorgonzola is on the road to a full recovery. They are on a full diet, taking their vitamins without fuss and have finished antibiotic treatments. Upon intake, there were some old lesions on the carapace that were not alarming but could use a little help healing. While out of the tank for antibiotic injections, we also scrubbed the carapace with betadine solution to clean the shell and old wounds. Betadine is a great topical antibiotic solution for minor abrasions. Now Gorgonzola’s shell looks so much better!
July 15, 2023: Gorgonzola is continuing to do well! They are eating everything very quickly and are still taking vitamins well, which is great because this tiny turtle is a little underweight. This month, the Aquarium celebrated Fourth of July, and Gorgonzola was very interested in the festive window gummies we applied on the tank!
August 15, 2023: Gorgonzola has been doing so well lately that vet staff wanted to take bloodwork again to see if this patient could potentially be released soon! We are still waiting on a few results before making a final decision. Fingers crossed that Gorgonzola passes all with flying colors!
August 22, 2023: Little Gorgonzola was released today! The Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge offers a federally protected saltmarsh habitat crawling with all kinds of crustaceans that Gorgonzola can forage for and enjoy. Good luck out there, Gorgo!