Monterey Jack | South Carolina Aquarium

Monterey Jack

Dec 21

Monterey Jack

Loggerhead (Caretta caretta)

Stranding Location: Cape Cod, MA
Arrival Date: 12/15/23
Age: Juvenile
Sex: Unknown
Weight: 6.41 kg (14.13 lbs)

Case History

This turtle is one of many that stranded up in the New England area due to cold stunning. New England Aquarium (NEAQ) treats hundreds of sea turtles during a just few months throughout the winter. This year we were able to take five of these turtles to help lighten their load, at least a little. This turtle originally stranded in Cape Cod, Massachusetts on December 1, 2023. We coordinated with NEAQ, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the non-profit organization Turtles Fly Too to transfer these patients to the Aquarium. Pilot Andy Davidson and his wife Karie flew Monterey Jack, and the others, to Charleston on December 15!


Monterey Jack was active and stable with a good heart rate and a healthy body temperature upon examination with our vet staff. The turtle’s overall physical condition looked decent with only a small ulcer on the left eye and a superficial abrasion towards the end of the carapace. Medical records from the NEAQ indicated that the turtle has mild pneumonia and our vet staff scheduled a CT scan to visualize the extent of it. Blood work was taken and it looked fairly good overall, followed by administering fluids, vitamins and antibiotics. Lastly, an ultrasound was done to look at the motility of the gut and make sure the GI tract was moving properly. After the medical exam was complete, Monterey Jack was approved for a swim test in a full tank of water.

Monterey Jack did great during the swim test! The little turtle showed full range of motion in all four flippers and swam levelly in the water column. After the initial first breath, Monterey Jack calmed down and swam along the tank bottom. By the end of the day, the patient was comfortably resting and able to stay in the full tank overnight!


December 20, 2023: Monterey Jack was active and alert the in the days following admit. A couple of pieces of fish were offered and this little loggerhead ate them up right away! Monterey Jack is settling into his/her new environment very well.

January 15, 2024: This past month Monterey Jack has been a model patient! This loggerhead sea turtle has a very healthy appetite, has received multiple diet increases and has even started taking oral vitamins!

February 15, 2024: This past month we put Monterey Jack under quarantine due to finding a small load of intestinal parasites. However, this quarantine protocol is precautionary as this small number of parasites is not concerning. Despite this, we found that Monterey Jack was in good enough overall health to be tagged! We are awaiting bloodwork results to determine if this little loggerhead will be a release candidate or not!

February 26, 2024: Today this juvenile loggerhead sea turtle had a big day. Monterey Jack is one of the first of the cold stuns from the New England Aquarium to go home! S/he was successfully released at Little Talbot Island State Park along with nine other rehabilitated patients. Wish Monterey Jack the best of luck out in the big blue!

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