Lupin | South Carolina Aquarium


Dec 19


Loggerhead (Caretta caretta)

Stranding Location: Brewster, MA

Arrival Date: 12/11/2018

Age: Juvenile

Weight: 20 kg (44 lbs)

Case History

Lupin was originally found on the beach in Brewster, Massachusetts on December 5, 2018. His body temperature was 39°F when he arrived at The New England Aquarium (NEAq). Lupin stayed at NEAq until flying down with four other juvenile loggerhead sea turtles on December 11, 2018. Lupin’s pilots were Chuck Yanke and Mike Lalley from the organization Turtles Fly Too. Lupin was transported to the South Carolina Aquarium where vet staff were waiting to treat him and the four other turtles.


Upon admit, Lupin’s body temperature was in the 70s. Luckily, when Lupin was flown down his body temperature didn’t drop too low. Lupin was already pretty stable but he received fluids, vitamins, antibiotics, and eye medication. We did a quick triage then let Lupin rest until he was ready to go into a tank.


December 15, 2018: The day after admit, Lupin moved to his tank in Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery. He immediately ate food and is doing very well! He’s getting pulled every day for his eye medications and receiving antibiotics every couple of days as well. Come see Lupin at the South Carolina Aquarium today!

January 1, 2019: Lupin is still receiving his eye medications because they still looked a little cloudy at his last check-up. He also has a couple of antibiotic injections left. Lupin has been eating great for us and defecates daily! He’s gaining weight slowly and looks great. He’s definitely a favorite in Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery.

January 15, 2019: Lupin is starting to become a picky eater and will only eat a portion of his diet the last couple of days. We are keeping an eye on this to make sure nothing more serious is going on. Lupin will receive a CT scan later in the week and a full exam along with it.

February 1, 2019: Lupin recently received a CT scan to check for pneumonia or other abnormalities. We’re happy to say his scan looked great! His lungs didn’t show any signs of pneumonia and everything else looked amazing! We will continue to monitor his breaths, as a raspy breath is a good indication of pneumonia. Lupin can be a picky eater, but has been getting a little better about eating his whole diet. He’s gaining some weight and growing a little, too!

February 15, 2019: Lupin is doing great! He has started to eat a little better and is not quite as picky with his diet! Lupin spends most of his days resting or cruising around his tank.

March 1, 2019: Lupin was pulled for his monthly check-up recently and is in great body condition. Lupin has his good and bad days with eating but overall is eating pretty well. Sometimes he just likes to let us know he’s full. He has grown a little since he’s been in our care! Make sure to stop by the Aquarium and check him out!

March 15, 2019: Lupin was tagged for release on March 13! This doesn’t mean Lupin is leaving us quite yet, but he has reached his first major milestone for returning home. On tagging day, we give most of our patients 2 different tags. One tag goes on the back of the front flippers and is a great visual cue. This tag is useful if the animal is found again, whether as an adult female nesting or as part of a research study, because it can be used to quickly see the animal has been helped or seen before. The second tag is called a PIT tag. The PIT tag is a microchip tag, just like the one a cat or dog receives. Again we can’t use this to track a patient, but we can scan the turtles to find their microchip number and ID them from there. We also take blood during tagging to evaluate and send it off. It typically takes around 2 weeks to get the results back, and then our vet team will evaluate the findings before clearing them for release. Come see Lupin before he heads back home!

April 1, 2019: Lupin has not been doing well since his tagging day. He has not been eating or defecating on his own which is a signal to staff that something is wrong with his gastrointestinal tract. We have been administering fluids, vitamins, and doing regular enemas to try to flush the fecal matter out. The fecal matter and fluid coming from the enemas is not normal. Between that and the images we have seen of his GI on the ultrasound, we believe there is something more serious going on. We will be tube feeding him radio dense liquid to do a contrast study and pinpoint the area of concern. Until then, Lupin is being offered food and his defecations are being monitored closely. Luckily, he isn’t losing any weight and is still behaving normally.

April 15, 2019: Lupin had a big week — we did an endoscopy of his upper gastrointestinal tract and stomach to see if there were was a blockage or foreign body, like plastics, that has been causing all of his issues this past month. Everything looked pretty normal so we slowly reintroduced food, and guess what? He started to eat again, which is a great sign! Hopefully this positive trend continues with Lupin, and he starts poopin’ again.

May 4, 2019: Lupin has really turned around this past month! He is now eating and defecating regularly again and acting as if nothing happened. We have been feeding him a diet consisting of only Peruvian smelt, which is low in fat, to make it easier for him to digest his food. Over time, we will slowly introduce other fish species until he is back to normal!

May 15, 2019: Lupin continues to improve! He defecates daily and has his diet increased weekly for now. Once he gets to a certain percentage of his body weight, we’ll hold off; we don’t want to feed him too much. This week we might be introducing mackerel to his diet since he’s been eating and defecating well. He is usually found resting or slowly swimming throughout his tank in Sea Turtle Recovery.

June 15, 2019: We introduced mackerel to Lupin and after a few days he stopped eating altogether again. We took away the mackerel, only offered smelt again, and he started eating right away! It seems that Lupin prefers to eat smelt which is a-ok! We pulled Lupin for a pre-release blood check and will be waiting to get the results back before we can determine if he’ll be a release candidate. Stay posted — he is doing well overall!

June 20, 2019: Lupin and fellow loggerhead, Hermione, were released at a private release for Sea Turtle Guardians at Isle of Palms County Park today.

Release Date

June 20, 2019

Release Location

Folly Beach County Park

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