Nigel | South Carolina Aquarium


Apr 14


Hybrid (Loggerhead/Kemp’s Ridley)

Stranding Location: Apache Pier on Myrtle Beach, SC

Arrival Date: 4/10/2017

Age: Juvenile

Weight: 15 lbs

Case History

Nigel was accidentally caught on hook-and-line off of Apache Pier on Myrtle Beach. The fisherman used a dip net that was already on the pier and safely pulled Nigel up out of the water. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) was promptly contacted and Linda Mataya, an SCDNR volunteer transporter, brought this patient to us for hook removal. When our Sea Turtle Care Center (STCC) staff was contacted, Linda said that this turtle didn’t look quite like a Kemp’s ridley, as it also shared similar characteristics of a loggerhead sea turtle. To our surprise, this patient is a hybrid – most likely a Kemp’s ridley and loggerhead sea turtle hybrid. In order to confirm this educated guess, a piece of keratin (outer layer of shell) was collected and submitted for genetic confirmation. This is the second hybrid patient that the STCC has treated. The first one being Eclipse, a juvenile loggerhead/green back in 2012.


Nigel was a very active patient at admit! The lead and fishing line were securely taped to the carapace and head to prevent them from being caught on his/her flipper. A physical exam, radiographs and a blood pull were taken. Radiographs confirmed the presence of the hook in Nigel’s esophagus, but luckily, there was only one. Nigel had a deep open laceration on top of the neck, a laceration of the left front flipper and a puncture wound near the jaw on the right. Associate Veterinarian, Dr. Julie Cavin, did an oral exam and was able to see the top of the hook in the back of throat. With sedation, Dr. Cavin and our vet staff team was able to remove the hook successfully, no surgery needed! Nigel’s sedation was reversed, and he received fluids, vitamins and antibiotics post-surgery.


April 12, 2017: Nigel received post-surgery radiographs and an exam today. We are going to start offering him food. Nigel will remain on a course of antibiotics to prevent any infection from where the hook was caught in his throat. His diet will slowly be increased. We are hopeful Nigel will make a quick turnaround.

May 5, 2017: Nigel’s course of antibiotics is almost complete, and he continues to thrive! Nigel has a great appetite and, though we do offer him a variety of fish types in his diet, he is not a big fan of smelt. Nigel will remain with us a little while longer. He will soon receive another physical exam by our vet team.

May 19, 2017: Nigel is no longer on any antibiotics and continues to do well. This week, Nigel received a physical exam by Dr. Julie Cavin, a blood draw, and was given a PIT (identification microchip). Nigel will be considered for a potential release in the near future! Nigel has recently become a stinker when it comes to taking his vitamins. Luckily, we have found a way around it by cleverly disguising them in his favorite choice of fish, salmon.

Release Date

May 31, 2017

Release Location

Folly Beach County Park

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