Kemp’s Ridley (Lepidochyls kempii)
Stranding Location: Cape Cod Bay, MA
Arrival Date: 11/27/22
Weight: 3.0 kg (6.6 lbs)
This turtle is one of many that stranded up in the New England area due to cold stunning, the sea turtle equivalent of hypothermia. New England Aquarium admits hundreds of turtles during the colder winter months; this year, we were able to take in 15 of these turtles to help lighten their load. We coordinate with New England Aquarium and a non-profit called Turtles Fly Too to transport the turtles here. Many thanks to pilot Steve Bernstein and his son Owen for flying them from New England down to Charleston!
Upon admit, it was noted that “Scorpio” was one of the turtles that had some of the more noticeable injuries. They had significant plastron bruising, exposed bone on the carapace, dermatitis on the neck, an old, healed entanglement wound on the left shoulder region, frostbite and pneumonia. Even though their injuries were rather severe, they were taking great breaths and had a strong heart rate, which we love to see! Scorpio was started on antibiotics and fluids. After their exam was completed, it was determined that Scorpio appeared strong enough to be placed in their new temporary home for the night. We were happy to see that Scorpio was doing swimmingly in a full tank of water! They had great range of motion in all of their flippers, even with that old entanglement wound, and were taking great breaths!
December 15, 2022: Scorpio continues to heal here at the Sea Turtle Care Center™. They have a new roommate: Aquarius! They did not eat for us for several days after admit, but that is to be expected as they were in a very different environment than they are used to. Eventually, they started eating for us off of tongs and then the next day ate everything off the bottom of their tank. The dermatitis on their neck has changed from blood-tinged to white which is expected. To help treat this area, we have started using a topical treatment called Silver Medihoney. All wounds are continuing to fill in with fibrin (healing tissue) and look better. Scorpio still have a few weeks left on antibiotics, and we will continue to monitor them closely throughout their time with us.
January 15, 2023: Scorpio’s antibiotics were extended by a few doses due to the cellulitis on their neck still being rather thick. It continues to look better and better though! You can now see Scorpio up in Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery™, so stop by and tell them “hi,” along with their three other tank mates.
February 15, 2023: Scorpio finished their last round of antibiotics this month! They still have some adhered fibrin on the back of their neck that may take awhile to fully heal. Otherwise, they are doing very well. The other day they got a new snack: jellyfish! They ate it right away — go, Scorpio!
March 15, 2023: Scorpio is looking great back up in Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery™! All of the frostbite areas have healed up very nicely. You can see them often interacting with their enrichment. Scorpio has a little bit of time left in rehab, but hopefully they can be evaluated for release sometime this spring!
April 15, 2023: Surprise! Scorpio was released this week in Florida at Little Talbot Island State Park. Water temperatures in South Carolina are still slightly chilly, so we took them and six other turtles down to warmer waters! Wish them good luck!