Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas)
Stranding Location: Harbor Island near Beaufort, South Carolina
Arrival Date: 6/29/2021
Weight: 2.3 kg (5 lbs)
Lapis was found stranded on Harbor Island near Beaufort, South Carolina. Jan Grimsley, a South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) permit holder, was called to respond to the stranding. Once she determined Lapis was lethargic, had injuries to his head behind his eyes, and to his beak, she contacted SCDNR so that he could be transported to the Sea Turtle Care Center ™ for evaluation. From there SCDNR biologist, Jeff Schwenter, transported this little green to us for further treatment.
Upon admit, Lapis was alert but quiet and lethargic. The wounds on his head and beak were covered in fibrin, a scab-like material. Admitting staff pulled blood, got a heart rate, took x-rays and did a physical exam to make sure there were no other injuries. Bloodwork indicated that this patient was slightly dehydrated, but thankfully the blood gas values were stable. Subcutaneous (under the skin) fluids with vitamins were administered to help rehydrate him, and he was started on a course of antibiotics to help combat any existing infections caused by the injuries. Both of his eyes were stained to see if there were any corneal abrasions; he did have corneal scarring on his left eye. Lapis received ophthalmic drops and was set up to rest comfortably in a foam-padded bin for the rest of the day.
July 7, 2021: Lapis spent his first few days with us in a floating kiddie pool, as he was very weak and was unable to be left in a tank with the shallowest of water without supervision. The floating kiddie pool allowed him to remain in a filtered water tank that was only a few inches deep. His left eye was treated with antibiotic drops for a few days to help treat the scarring on the cornea. Lapis began eating immediately which is a great sign! After about five days, we started leaving him out of the kiddie pool because he was more active and starting to perk up. Lapis is now in a tank and is eating off of the bottom. His beak is in rough shape, and we are very relieved that it is not impacting his ability to eat.
July 15, 2021: Lapis has really improved over the past week and is eating really well. Each time she comes out for an antibiotic injection the injury to her beak appears to be improving. She is still receiving antibiotic injections, and we are continuing to increase her diet.
August 15, 2021: Lapis has been doing great since our last update! She is no longer receiving any antibiotics, and her beak and injuries to her head are healing up well. She will be coming out for another physical exam at the end of the month to check on her weight and the healing of her beak.
September 13, 2021: Lapis was released by boat back into the beautiful saltmarsh habitat in Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge.