Grits | South Carolina Aquarium


Jun 06


Green (Chelonia mydas)

Stranding Location: Shem Creek, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Arrival Date: 5/15/2024
Age: Juvenile
Sex: Unknown
Weight: 2.89 kg (6.37 lbs)

Case History

This juvenile green sea turtle was found floating in Shem Creek and concerned members of the public contacted South Carolina Department of Natural Resources to rescue her/him. Our many thanks to everyone who helped get this turtle to the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Care Center™ safely!


Upon arrival, the patient was very quiet, had a heavy epibiont load and a fracture to the carapace. Radiographs were taken to identify potential foreign bodies in Grits’ gastrointestinal system as well.

Grits was placed in a kiddie pool and was very active, so we decided to try a swim test in a shallow tank. This little green immediately showed severe buoyancy problems, so s/he was placed back in the kiddie pool where s/he could safely rest. When sea turtles display buoyancy issues some causes can be pneumonia, air trapped in the body cavity from an injury like a boat strike or lung tear or gas in the gastrointestinal tract. Based on what we observed on the radiograph, Grits’ problem likely lies in the latter option. With time, hydration and closely observed swim tests, the turtle’s digestive tract should begin to work normally and eventually her/his buoyancy will start to even out. Until then, Grits will be recovering in a kiddie pool.


June 15, 2024: Our previously floaty friend, Grits, has made lots of progress in the past couple of weeks! Thankfully, after Grits’ hydration improved with fluids and her/his metabolism and digestion kicked in, things began moving through her/his gut! Not only did Grits pass all of the snails and other digested material, but the gas trapped in her/his gut has passed as well. This means that Grits is no longer buoyant and in need of a kiddie pool. This patient’s energy level and appetite has greatly improved, speeding up the road to recovery!

Skip to content