Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas)
Stranding Location: Coffin Point Beach, Beaufort, SC
Arrival Date: 11/13/19
Weight: 5.9 pounds
Ma was found washed up on the beach by a passerby on the first day of South Carolina’s annual cold snap. Winds were high as the cold air and rain moved into the Lowcountry, quickly lowering ocean surface temperatures causing Ma’s body temperature to dip below functioning levels. She was found with a body temp of about 52 degrees Fahrenheit. Keith Rossman, a South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) volunteer, responded to the call to rescue this little turtle. She was then transported to the South Carolina Aquarium by SCDNR staff member, Perry Fennell.
It is important that cold-stunned turtles be warmed up very slowly. So, Sea Turtle Care Center staff prepared a room for Ma where the temperature could be controlled to slowly increase through the night and next day. Ma was given a physical exam, bloodwork was drawn and her vitals were checked. Everything seemed to be within normal limits except that her blood sugar was low. We gave her fluids to help with that, antibiotics and injectable vitamins to give her a boost! She spent the night slowly warming up and resting.
November 15, 2019: Ma has been doing well. After she warmed up enough, we were able to put her in water and she immediately began swimming around. She has already started eating which is a great sign! We collected a small fecal sample to analyze for any parasites. Fingers crossed this little cutie continues to do well!
December 1, 2019: Ma likes to spend her days sleeping under her fake seagrass bed and watching us work all day long out of her window. She is doing incredibly well as she continues to eat well and defecate normally. We found no parasites in her fecal matter which is good news! She is very healthy and we are hoping for a quick turnaround in rehab.
December 15, 2019: Ma is now up to a full tank of water and loves munching down on her veggies! She is almost done with her antibiotic injections to prevent any secondary infections we see with cold stunning including lung infections (pneumonia) and bone infections called osteomyelitis.
January 1, 2020: Ma has had an uneventful couple of weeks. She continues to defecate often and eats very well. She is a fairly active patient and also enjoys scratching her shell on her seagrass enrichment.
January 15, 2020: Ma had her monthly weight and measurement exam this week. She is maintaining weight, and has not grown during her time here. She is a beautiful and overall healthy looking turtle! We hope to evaluate her bloodwork soon to see how fit for release she might be. Fingers crossed!
February 1, 2020: Last week Ma made a big move up to Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery! You can now visit her in Tank 1 on the first floor of the Aquarium. She is a small turtle in a big tank and seems to be enjoying every bit of it. It took her a few days to get acquainted with her new surroundings, as is to be expected. Luckily, she started eating right away and has slowly become more comfortable in her new temporary home!
February 15, 2020: Ma is doing well in her new tank! She enjoys spending her afternoons snoozing in her sea grass enrichment. Patients like her are exactly why enrichment is an important component of rehabilitation. The seagrass enrichment encourages natural behavior that would be seen in the wild!
March 1, 2020: Ma is doing fantastic these days! She is enjoying her various forms of environmental enrichment in her tank, but you can often find her nestled and sleeping under her backscratcher in her seagrass.
March 15, 2020: Ma continues to do well in her tank in Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery. She enjoys spending her days scratching her shell on her spray bar, sleeping in her enrichment, eating a variety of vegetables like a responsible turtle, and overall just hamming it up for the guests. She will be evaluated for release in the coming months as the waters warm and she gains a little bit more weight.
April 1, 2020: At this point, Ma is cruising in her rehabilitation. We will probably start evaluating her as a release candidate in the coming months!
May 1, 2020: Ma received a full examination last week, including bloodwork, weight and measurements and she is in great body condition! We will evaluate her for potential release in the near future once we get the results back from her blood work.
May 15, 2020: Ma was successfully returned home, and released by boat into a secure salt marsh location. Just keep swimming, Ma!