Sawyer | South Carolina Aquarium


May 27


Loggerhead (Caretta caretta)

Stranding Location: Pawley’s Island, Georgetown, SC
Arrival Date: 05/11/2020
Age: Juvenile
Weight: 22 kg (47 pounds)

Case History

Sawyer was caught by a fisherman near Spring Street on Pawley’s Island. The fisherman contacted the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) for further assistance. SCDNR volunteer transporter, Terry Graham, arrived and examined Sawyer. She didn’t see a hook or line but did see some damage to Sawyer’s right eye. Terry transported Sawyer to the Aquarium.


When Sawyer arrived, staff noticed the damage to Sawyer’s right eye appeared to be an old injury. Upon examination, Dr. Boylan found that the eye still reacts to light but the eyelid itself is damaged and unable to open or close like it should. When examining Sawyer’s mouth, vet staff found a small fishing bead stuck to the roof of his mouth, which lead staff to assume there was also a hook somewhere inside of him/her. We took a CT of Sawyer and saw a small circle hook in his/her esophagus. After lightly sedating him/her, Dr. Boylan proceeded to remove the hook. Thankfully the hook was able to be reached through his/her mouth, so no incision was necessary. While Sawyer rested for the next couple hours he received fluids, vitamins, and antibiotics. Later that day, we tried Sawyer in a tank and he swam around some initially, but ended up floating at the surface for most of the time. The radiographs showed lots of fecal material and gas throughout his gastrointestinal tract, which was likely causing his buoyancy issues. Staff dropped the water level lower to keep Sawyer a little more comfortable.


May 17, 2020: The following day, Sawyer was still buoyant and not moving around too much. We offered him food, which he ate immediately and perked up right after eating. Over the next few days, Sawyer continued to eat great for us and became more active every day. We’re now slowly increasing his diet to a maintenance level and increasing his water level to a full tank. He’s been passing lots of crab hash fecal so his buoyancy problems have resolved. Once we’re able to, we’ll reach out to an animal eye care specialist to see what we can do about Sawyer’s eyelid. Sawyer is going to be with us for a little while,  and he is fully enjoying his new temporary home!

June 1, 2020: Sawyer continues to improve in his new temporary home in Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery. Sawyer continues to have antibiotic injections biweekly, but is doing better overall! 

July 15, 2020: Exciting news for our buddy Sawyer. He has finished all of his antibiotics, and was moved into our largest tank in the Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery! He looks great and is enjoying his spacious new digs. The old injury to his eye does not seem to be impacting his ability to navigate or find his food at all. As a matter of fact, Sawyer has been eating great and has gained five and a half pounds since arriving at the Sea Turtle Care Center.  Way to go, Sawyer!

August 15, 2020: Sawyer continues to improve. He is due for a monthly weight and measurement check very soon! We hope his rehab stay will end in the next few months while it is still warm here in South Carolina! 

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