Loggerhead (Caretta caretta)
Stranding Location: In-Water Rescue at Bay Point, SC
Arrival Date: 05/28/2015
Weight: 28.88 kg (~64 lb.)
This 28.88 kg juvenile loggerhead was rescued May 28th by SC Department of Natural Resources staff, who discovered this clearly ill loggerhead in the water at Bay Point. Named “Pointer,” this turtle also has an older partial amputation of her right front flipper. Her prognosis is fair and, assuming she recovers, s/he will have no problems surviving in the wild with just 3 good flippers.
Pointer was the first of two turtles to arrive Thursday. S/he was covered in marine leeches, hypoglycemic (glucose: 36 mg/dl), lethargic, and extremely skinny. Her shell bones were clearly in a compromised state, as often happens when the body draws calcium out of the bone and into the blood stream to stay alive. Our team administered IV and subcutaneous fluids, antibiotics, and injectable vitamins before putting this severely emaciated turtle in a very shallow pool of fresh water overnight.
3 June 2015: Pointer is still very weak and is being housed in a temporary tank of shallow water. However, this loggerhead is certainly hungry and is aggressively eating the very small amount of food we offer daily. She also tries to bite staff every time we do injections; this is a great sign that she will fight to recover from her illness!
4 August 2015: Pointer’s strength has markedly increased since admission and s/he has currently gained more than 11 pounds! We’ve admitted so many patients the past few months (29 this year already) that we’ve been forced to house certain turtles together to avoid turning away patients; as such, Pointer is sharing a large tank with another patient named Pawley. However, Pointer is certainly the more aggressive one when it comes to food, and we have to ensure that we feed both turtles at the same time or Pointer will become agitated, splashing and pushing against his tank divider. On a good note, this loggerhead absolutely LOVES live blue crabs. Our sea turtles and staff are very appreciative of all the people who have donated live blue crabs to our hospital this season – thank you!
16 November 2015: Pointer has been making great strides. With a healthy appetite s/he now weighs 40 kg (88 lb.), which is a 24 pound weight gain since admission back in May. His/her right front flipper is well healed and exhibits no difficult swimming around the 1,000 gallon tank. Pointer is doing so well in fact that we are preparing for release. Today hospital staff pulled 3mls of blood for the pre-release blood re-check, if all looks good s/he will be ready for release next month!
December 1, 2015
40 miles off the coast of South Carolina