Gruyere | South Carolina Aquarium


Dec 21


Loggerhead (Caretta caretta)

Stranding Location: Cape Cod, MA
Arrival Date: 12/15/23
Age: Juvenile
Sex: Unknown
Weight: 6.43 kg (14.15 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 30, 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 Gruyere, and the others, to Charleston on December 15!


Upon arrival, Gruyere was a model patient. S/he was alert, calm, had a strong heart rate, and was breathing often! Even though they were good breaths, we could tell that they sounded a little raspy. This was on par with the results of diagnostic imagining from NEAQ, indicating that this little loggerhead sea turtle had a severe case of pneumonia. Thankfully, the rest of Gruyere’s exam did not reveal any other major problems. After a blood sample, ultrasound, receiving antibiotics and fluids, Gruyere was placed in a full tank of water. To no surprise, this patient did very well and adjusted to this new temporary home quickly!


December 20th, 2023: During Gruyere’s first several days in the Sea Turtle Care Center™ we’ve made great strides. Gruyere has a big appetite and is eating everything we offer and is defecating regularly! The other day this little one received a CT scan that confirmed that the pneumonia is severe, but antibiotics should help clear this up. Check back in the new year for more progress reports on Gruyere!

January 15, 2024: Gruyere continues to be a model patient. This little loggerhead is gobbling up every diet increase we offer and has even started eating vitamins! Gruyere has a follow up CT scheduled for the near future, so hopefully we see some positive changes in the lungs.

February 15, 2024: You can now see Gruyere in Tank 6 in Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery™! Juvenile loggerhead sea turtles tend to explore and engage with their surroundings more than other life stages in this species. We are changing out enrichment items and offering a fish pop multiple times throughout the week to keep Gruyere stimulated!

March 15, 2024: Gruyere’s tank is a specialized exercise tank with jet attachments to create a simulated current within it. What better way to elevate enrichment for Gruyere than with a current?! We have been turning on the jets a few times a week to change up Gruyere’s environment and provide a new challenge. The jets create a lot of bubbles and a current that Gruyere may choose to interact with and cruise in. So far Gruyere has been interacting with the bubbles and swimming in the current a lot!

April 15, 2024: Gruyere was introduced to the jets in the exercise tank last month, but we discovered that the intrigue was too strong. Staff had observed Gruyere trying to bite the jets, so it was decided that for his/her safety, we needed to move this patient to a different system. After talking through all possible options, it was determined that the best tank for Gruyere was in the basement hospital portion of the Care Center. So even though you cannot see Gruyere in the Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery™, you can still stay up to date on this little loggerhead’s progress through our blog updates! All in all, Gruyere is thriving in the new tank!

May 15, 2024: Gruyere has been behaving well in her/his new tank! Based on Gruyere’s improvements over the past few months, we decided it was time to start the evaluation process for release! Gruyere was tagged and now we are waiting on bloodwork results. Wish her/him luck!

May 22, 2024: We are excited to report that Gruyere was release into the ocean today! Hundreds of supporters and turtle enthusiasts joined us at Folly Beach County Park to see this little loggerhead swim off into the big blue!

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