The Sea Turtle Hospital Experiences Record-Breaking May | South Carolina Aquarium

The Sea Turtle Hospital Experiences Record-Breaking May

Jun 01

The Sea Turtle Hospital Experiences Record-Breaking May

The Sea Turtle Rescue Program has admitted a record number of sick and injured sea turtles this spring. May and June are typically the busiest months for live South Carolina turtle standings, and the most our Sea Turtle Hospital has admitted in the past was six in June 2013. This year, we admitted eleven new sea turtles in May alone.

Our Sea Turtle Rescue team has been working around-the-clock to save these severely debilitated animals, including two turtles that arrived at the Aquarium after midnight. Interestingly, most of the new patients are loggerheads and have similar diagnoses, weighing between 60-125 pounds with extremely poor body conditions and blood work, lethargy, and are carrying heavy epibiont loads, which means small marine animals like barnacles, tube worms, skeleton shrimp and even crabs. Although, these critters are not hurting the turtles, the leeches commonly found on the skin of these sick turtle are contributing to their illness.

Sea turtles that are in such poor health will likely take five to ten months to be completely rehabilitated. The Sea Turtle Hospital has reached the maximum capacity for existing filtered tanks and is plumbing in two portable filtration systems for temporary holding tanks for additional turtles. One of the older patients that is closer to release even had to be moved to a fish quarantine system on the third floor due to lack of space.

Learn more about the turtles:



Barnacle Bob



Edings – medical case history coming soon.

Pointer – medical case history coming soon.

Ranger – medical case history coming soon.

Two of the turtles admitted in May were too severely debilitated to be rehabilitated and did not survive, despite hours that the staff poured into their admissions.

The need for our 2016 Sea Turtle Hospital expansion is apparent now, more than ever. The new state-of-the-art hospital will increase the number of turtles we’re able to rehabilitate, and advanced medical equipment and larger tanks will improve the level of medical care we’re able to provide these threatened and endangered reptiles.

Want to help? Become an ambassador for the conservation of these animals. Make a donation to the Aquarium’s Watershed Fund, a campaign to optimize our education and conservation programs, including the Sea Turtle Hospital Expansion.


Portia5/4/15Edisto BeachLoggerhead (Caretta caretta)Debilitated
Price5/5/15Price’s InletLoggerhead (Caretta caretta)Debilitated
Barnacle Bob5/6/15Myrtle BeachGreen (Chelonia mydas)Debilitated
Sewee5/9/15Cape IslandLoggerhead (Caretta caretta)Debilitated
Socastee5/10/15Myrtle BeachLoggerhead (Caretta caretta)Debilitated
5/23/15North Myrtle BeachKemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii)Necrotic Ulcerative Disease
5/25/15Myrtle BeachLoggerhead (Caretta caretta)Necrotic Ulcerative Disease
Edings5/27/15EdingsvilleLoggerhead (Caretta caretta)Debilitated
Pointer5/28/15Bay PointLoggerhead (Caretta caretta)Debilitated
Ranger5/28/15Myrtle Beach State ParkLoggerhead (Caretta caretta)Debilitated
Botany5/29/15Botany BayLoggerhead (Caretta caretta)Debilitated

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to content