Hilton | South Carolina Aquarium


Jun 20


loggerhead (Caretta caretta)

Stranding Location: Hilton Head, SC

Arrival Date: 06/20/2010

Age: juvenile

Weight: 42.5 kg (94 lb)

Case History

This 38 kg loggerhead stranded on the beach in Hilton Head, SC, on 20 June 2010. Although exhibiting signs of severe debilitation, including lethargy and a carapace covered in epibionts, bloodwork values weren’t on par with what we typically see in turtles with debilitated turtle syndrome (DTS). Hilton was anemic but not hypoglycemic, emaciated, or severely dehydrated. Additionally, Hilton did not have any obvious physical injuries that would’ve contributed to his stranding.


Hilton began an intense treatment regimen immediately upon arrival. Treatment included subcutaneous fluids, injectable vitamins, iron injections to treat the anemia, and a freshwater bath to aid in epibiont removal. Over the course of his first week in our hospital, we gently removed the various barnacles, leeches, tube worms, and other epibionts that covered his shell and flippers at admission.


12 September 2010: Hilton is doing so well! He is a spunky and aggressive turtle, and is often observed swimming over and through his PVC backscratcher (a form of enrichment we use in the hospital to allow turtles to simulate natural behaviors while in captivity). He is eating well and gaining weight, although blood work shows he is still anemic. Currently, Hilton is receiving iron pills in his food and is off all other medications. His prognosis is good.

28 November 2010: Hilton’s PCV reached 28 last week and he is now off all medications. He will spend the winter being cared for in our facility and will likely be released next spring!

7 May 2011: Farewell to a very feisty turtle!

Release Date


Release Location

Ise of Palms County Park, SC

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