Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas)
Stranding Location: Pine Island, Edisto Island, SC
Arrival Date: 5/6/2021
Weight: : 3.94 kg (8.67 lbs)
A family out kayaking came across Malachite crawling in circles on a large mud flat at low tide behind Edisto Island, SC. The rescuers called the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) stranding hotline to report the stranded turtle. SCDNR dispatched a couple of technicians to go out and retrieve the turtle, meanwhile they asked the family to keep the turtle wet and shaded. The family was resourceful and used their lifejackets to create a little shady tent over the turtle until the transporters arrived. Once rescued, the turtle was driven to the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Care Center™.
Malachite was in fairly good body conditioned when he arrived. As staff did a full physical exam, they noticed a “bald” spot on his head where the keratin had been worn off. The marginal scutes on his carapace were also broken, and there was a sizable area of exposed bone on his plastron. These were all older wounds, and staff was unsure what could have caused them or if the wounds contributed to the stranding. Malachite’s bloodwork showed that he was fairly stable but was definitely dehydrated. Staff administered lots of fluids, some vitamins, antibiotics and eye drops. Malachite’s eyes had lots of mucous and sand in them, causing a few minor abrasions. Malachite was then placed in shallow, low-salinity water overnight to rest and recover.
May 8, 2021: Malachite is still very quiet and sleeps a lot. He did defecate his first night at the Care Center and has eaten some fish and a few bites of veggies. He will be evaluated again on Monday, and a CT will be done to get a closer look at the wounds on his head and plastron.
June 15, 2021: Malachite has improved significantly since our last update! Malachite is now in a full tank, still getting diet increases, and is overall doing much better. Malachite is no longer on antibiotics, and some areas of exposed bone on her carapace are beginning to heal and fill in with keratin again.
July 15, 2021: Since our last update, Malachite has been moved up into a tank in Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery on the first floor. Malachite has gained weight, and her shell has healed up really well! We are just giving her time to gain weight and allowing the softer areas on her shell more time to keratinize before considering her as candidate release.
August 15, 2021: Malachite has been doing great since our last update! We will be pulling him for a physical exam, including a weight and measurement, to evaluate how he’s growing and if we need to adjust his diet. Malachite is a guest favorite who is often observed scratching his plastron on enrichment in his tank.
September 13, 2021: Malachite was released by boat back into the beautiful saltmarsh habitat in Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge.