Hashbrown | South Carolina Aquarium

Hashbrown

Apr 16

Hashbrown

Green (Chelonia mydas)

Stranding Location: North Myrtle Beach, SC
Arrival Date: 4/8/24
Age: Juvenile
Sex: Unknown
Weight: 4.04 kg (8.88 lbs)

Case History

A morning sanitation crew in North Myrtle Beach spotted something in the surf at the beach. As it turns out, this “something” was a little juvenile green sea turtle in distress. The crew called the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR). They deployed permitted members of the North Myrtle Beach turtle team, who made sure that this little green made it to the Aquarium quickly and safely to receive treatment.

Treatment

Upon arrival, it was obvious that this little green had been sick for a while. Staff observed a heavy load of epibiota, like barnacles, algae and skeleton shrimp, on Hashbrown’s carapace (top shell). Initially, Hashbrown had a decent heart rate and was fairly reactive. However, the breaths we saw were not as strong as we would have liked. Based on bloodwork results, the turtle was intubated and given fluids, dextrose (due to low glucose levels), antibiotics, vitamins and other lifesaving medications.

When this little green was more stable, we took diagnostic imaging, like radiographs (x-rays) and a CT scan, to get a better picture as to what may be going on internally. This showed us that there is radio dense material in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and in the lungs; this is likely sand, but could also be some sort of blockage as we are seeing poor gut motility.

After treatments were completed and Hashbrown had perked back up, we wanted to see if being in water would help her/him even more. Since sea turtles are an aquatic species, they tend to behave more appropriately in water. Hashbrown was placed in a half a tank of water and was initially very active and taking decent breaths. Over time, we saw a decrease in energy levels, so we tried a floating kiddie pool with shallow water. For the safety of Hashbrown though, we decided to wet dock this little green overnight.

Updates

April 11, 2024: Over the last several days, it has been touch and go with Hashbrown. Glucose levels are not maintaining like we had hoped, so each day s/he has received more dextrose and other medications to aid in the recovery process. Hashbrown has graduated from being wet docked to getting some kiddie pool time as well. This little green is making small steps in the right direction but overall, prognosis is very guarded. Please send Hashbrown all of your positive healing vibes!

May 15, 2024: Our first turtle of 2024 has been doing well! Hashbrown is consistently eating well, has been started on vitamins, is defecating often and has been cleared to receive all types of enrichment. We are proud of this little green’s progress! You can now wave to Hashbrown in Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery™.

June 15, 2024: Hashbrown has come a long way this month! This active green turtle has finished all medications and is eating great and steadily gaining weight. We recently tagged Hashbrown during an exam and pre-release assessment. While Hashbrown is doing great so far, we’d like to see her/him gain just a bit more weight before release. We will continue to adjust the diet and weigh Hashbrown regularly until we reach that goal!

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