Muenster | South Carolina Aquarium


Apr 21


Green (Chelonia mydas)

Stranding Location: Fripp Island, SC
Arrival Date: 3/18/23
Age: Juvenile
Weight: 3.3 kg (7.26 lbs)

Case History

Muenster, a juvenile green sea turtle, was found stranded on Fripp Island and called in by Heather Pickens. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) permit holders and transporters Keith and Katrina Rossman responded to the call and were met by SCDNR staff member Meredith Bean, who was able to transport the turtle the rest of the way to the Sea Turtle Care Center™ for treatment.


Muenster was found washed ashore, likely a result of GI gas causing them to float. Often when a sea turtle is immunocompromised, their digestive tract becomes sluggish resulting in buoyancy issues, making it difficult for them to get to food. Longterm, this often results in them becoming underweight, dehydrated and anemic, with low blood sugar and protein levels. This was all verified by running diagnostic tests during admit at the Care Center. The large volume of GI gas was taking up so much room in Munster’s body cavity that their lungs were compressed. They were too buoyant and weak to be tested in water right away, so they were allowed to rest overnight in a padded wet dock bin after receiving antibiotics, vitamins and fluids with dextrose to raise their blood sugar.


After resting overnight, Muenster was tested in shallow water the next day. As expected, they were very buoyant and will need to stay in a kiddie pool for the time being. They will only be offered one or two small pieces of fish at first until things start moving. We need to confirm that there is no foreign body obstruction causing a GI blockage. Once the Muenster begins to defecate and pass gas on their own, then we can begin to gradually increase their diet.

April 15, 2023: Muenster spent several days in a kiddie pool because they were not able to regulate their buoyancy well. They were given some daily swim practice in order to build up their endurance and to see if they could figure out how to regulate their buoyancy better. After about four days of swimming practice, Muenster was finally resting on the bottom and even had a large defecation! We have been giving Muenster slow diet increases over the last week or so, but they have a healthy appetite for fish. Still working on veggies, but they are getting there with some bites of zucchini here and there.

May 15, 2023: Though still not loving veggies, Muenster has made great strides in their time at the Sea Turtle Care Center! This patient is in a full tank, and loves interacting with enrichment — hula-hoops in particular. Muenster loves to eat fish but does not have much interest in lettuce. Who knows if this turtle will eat their zucchini… every day is a toss up! Some days they eat it all, and some days they only want one bite! Muenster has finished their antibiotics and is getting healthier every day.

June 15, 2023: This past month was full of excitement for Muenster! Muenster was tagged and evaluated for release, and after healthy bloodwork results came back, they were cleared! We released Muenster this past week at Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, and we wish this little one the best of luck back out in the ocean!

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