Loggerhead (Caretta caretta)
Stranding Location: Cape Cod, MA
Arrival Date: 12/15/23
Weight: 6.32 kg (13.9 lbs)
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!