Omelet | South Carolina Aquarium


Jun 20


Kemp’s Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii)

Stranding Location: ACE Basin, SC
Arrival Date: 6/10/24
Age: Juvenile
Sex: Unknown
Weight: 2.4 kg (5.28 lbs)

Case History

This juvenile Kemp’s ridley sea turtle was found by South Carolina Department of Natural Resources biologists during an inshore trammel net survey in the ACE Basin watershed. Omelet has several abrasions, puncture wounds and lacerations on the neck, shoulders, flippers, carapace and plastron. These wounds appear to be predatory injuries that were relatively fresh, but not actively bleeding. Aside from the skin and soft tissue damage, there is exposed bone on the plastron over the scapula.


Upon admit, we ran a series of diagnostic tests, including bloodwork and radiographs. This patient’s lungs looked clear and the gastrointestinal tract was filled with a normal amount of crab shells and snails. However, the blood work was slightly more concerning, revealing low blood sugar, low red blood cell count and high lactate values. Fluids with dextrose and vitamins were administered and an antibiotic treatment was started. Pain medication was given to Omelet and her/his wounds were cleaned well and treated with topical ointments. Omelet was alert and responsive and moved to a shallow tank to swim and rest overnight.


June 15, 2024: By the next morning, Omelet was swimming well with good range of motion in all four flippers. However, we decided the deep wounds around the highly mobile flippers needed stabilization to heal properly. Fortunately, Omelet’s bloodwork had improved significantly overnight and s/he was stable enough to be sedated to suture these deeper lacerations. After recovering, Omelet was moved back to her/his shallow tank to continue to heal and is already showing signs of improvement.

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