Neptune | South Carolina Aquarium


Jan 04


Green (Chelonia mydas)

Stranding Location: Buzzards Bay, MA
Arrival Date: 11/27/22
Age: Juvenile
Weight: 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs)

Case History

This turtle is one of many that stranded up in the New England area due to cold stunning, the sea turtle equivalent of hypothermia. New England Aquarium admits hundreds of turtles during the colder winter months; this year, we were able to take in 15 of these turtles to help lighten their load. We coordinate with New England Aquarium and a non-profit called Turtles Fly Too to transport the turtles here. Many thanks to pilot Steve Bernstein and his son Owen for flying them from New England down to Charleston!


Neptune was a little bit of a different case than the other cold stuns we received this year… they are missing their left eye! There is an old healed orbital fracture and radiographs showed that the eye itself is no longer there. Because of this fracture there is a slight malformation of the skull. Other aliments found on diagnostic imaging were a mild case of pneumonia, a lot of fecal material in the colon and a potential bony lesion on the right humeral head. We also noted severe cervical edema and thermal trauma to both hind flippers. They had a strong heart rate and good respiration rates. Neptune was started on antibiotics and fluids. Staff was happy with Neptune’s energy levels so after their exam, they were placed in a full tank of water for the night and did very well!


December 15, 2022: Initially they were uninterested in eating. However, a few days after admit they started eating. Staff noticed that Neptune was having a difficult time getting their food but it was hard to determine, at first, if it was due to depth perception issues or if they were having a hard time opening their mouth. Sometimes turtles with orbital trauma have residual jaw problems. A few days later, it appeared that they were no longer having issues, and it was determined that they were just adjusting! In addition to all of their other problems, they passed a piece of plastic a few days after admit! Staff is keeping an eye out for more. Hopefully that’s the last of it!

January 15, 2023: Neptune has made some good strides over this past month! They have started eating all of their fish and most of their veggies. It seems as though they are a little picky though and do not like red peppers. We were keeping an eye on some potential osteomyelitis development, but right now it does not appear to be progressing.

February 15, 2023: This past month Neptune was pulled for their routine exam and they are looking pretty spiffy! All of the frostbite areas have healed up nicely and their left eye socket looks healthy! They have no trouble foraging for their food even though they are missing an eye. This should not hinder Neptune’s ability to be released in the future. They still need to put on a little more weight before they are ready to go home, so it is likely that Neptune will be with us until spring time.

March 15, 2023: Neptune has been thriving here in the Sea Turtle Care Center. Today they were pulled for a weight, measurement, exam and blood pull. These are all things that we do throughout a turtle’s time in rehab in order to make sure that they are on the right path to heading home. This past month, we moved Neptune up to Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery™ so be sure to stop by and check out this one-eyed cutie. Hopefully sometime this spring, Neptune will be able to go back to the big blue!

April 15, 2023: Surprise! Neptune was released this week in Florida at Little Talbot Island State Park. Water temperatures in South Carolina are still slightly chilly, so we took them and six other turtles down to warmer waters! Wish them good luck!

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