Pecorino | South Carolina Aquarium


Dec 21


Loggerhead (Caretta caretta)

Stranding Location: Cape Cod, MA
Arrival Date: 12/15/23
Age: Juvenile
Sex: Unknown
Weight: 6.32 kg (13.9 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 7, 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 Pecorino, and the others, to Charleston on December 15!


Pecorino is the smallest of all of the cold stuns we received from NEAQ. On the intake exam staff was able to obtain a small blood sample, get an ultrasound, and administer antibiotics, fluids and vitamins. Like most cold stun patients, Pecorino was identified to have pneumonia. After having received all of the treatments, Pecorino was placed in a tank of water and did very well!


December 20, 2023: Pecorino showed no interest in eating for the first couple of days. Yesterday, we were able to identify that Pecorino prefers slightly larger pieces of fish and is now eating consistently! We also took a CT scan to identify the severity of the pneumonia. Based on our findings, we decided to start Pecorino on a second antibiotic to help resolve the pneumonia. Over the past couple of days, we observed that Pecorino was a little more stressed than we would have liked to see, so we covered the tank window to see if that would help — and it did! Pecorino is now exploring more of the tank and is calmer!

January 15, 2024: Pecorino continues to be a picky eater. Pecorino has refused to eat both salmon and capelin. Pecorino’s pickiness is a perfect example of how sea turtles develop their own diet preferences throughout their lifetime. On the bright side, Pecorino will eat vitamins without fail and staff is thankful for that!

February 15, 2024: Pecorino continues to make staff think outside of the box. This past month we have seen several changes in eating habits and behaviors. After some trial and error, staff found that Pecorino will only eat mackerel cut a very specific way and prefers to eat around midday instead of the morning. We have also moved Pecorino to a larger tank in the basement hospital which has resulted in more positive change in her/his behavior. We will continue to tackle all of the challenges that Pecorino throws our way. Stay tuned for what those might be next month!

March 15, 2024: This was a big month for Pecorino! Pecorino had a follow up CT to check how her/his lungs looked after finishing the prescribed antibiotics for pneumonia. Thankfully, the lungs look much improved! Pecorino is still fairly thin, so we are working with this picky eater to help her/him gain weight. This past month we have seen Pecorino branch out from boneless, skinless filets of mackerel to full cross-sections of mackerel, and even heads! This is great news because these pieces offer added nutrition that will help Pecorino gain weight.

April 15, 2024: Pecorino continues to provide staff with small wins and achievements, but still is keeping us on our toes. This patient has graduated from being extremely picky with food items to being a little more versatile. Pecorino is not a big fan of enrichment but does have a few head tubes in the tank that we sometime catch him/her using! This turtle continues to be on the up and up — maybe in the next few months Pecorino can make a splash back in to the ocean!

May 15, 2024: Pecorino was released today at Folly Beach County Park! Over the past month, Pecorino showed tremendous improvement and had gained a good amount of weight. With the help of SCDNR, Pecorino was PIT tagged and our veterinarians took a blood sample to make sure that Pecorino was ready to go back home. Pecorino was perfectly healthy and ready to swim out into the big blue. Happy swimming, Pecorino!

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