Kemp’s Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii)
Stranding Location: Lighthouse Inlet at Folly Beach, SC
Arrival Date: 10/10/2022
Weight:2.38 kg (5.2 lbs)
On Monday night, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) technicians Meredith Bean and Kaitlyn Roberts responded to a juvenile Kemp’s Ridley that was caught on a fishing hook at Lighthouse Inlet. The fisher called SCDNR to report the incident, which was exactly the right thing to do! The turtle was then transported to the Sea Turtle Care Center™ for treatment.
Upon admit, this little turtle was very active and “bitey.” We decided a little Kemp’s with a big attitude deserved a name to match: Shredder! If it were up to them, they may have “shredded” the exam room! But no need to fret, our team made sure everyone remained unharmed. When Shredder arrived, staff immediately got to work counting respirations, getting a heart rate, taking a blood sample and radiographs. The radiograph showed exactly what we anticipated: a circle hook in the esophagus. A plan of action was created, and we sedated the turtle. After the sedation medication had time to settle in, staff attempted to remove the hook. The hook was safely removed within 25 minutes. Go team! A reversal medication was then given, along with fluids, vitamins, antibiotics and pain meds. Shredder was water tested later that evening, and unfortunately showed us they were not quite ready for a tank of water yet. It was decided to wet dock them overnight, which means they recovered in a wet, padded bin overnight.
October 11, 2022: This morning, Shredder was a little more alert and was placed in a full tank of water. They were “shredding” it (aka doing a great job)! We will wait a few days to offer food so that the esophagus has some time to heal. Until then, we will supplement with fluids.
November 15, 2022: Shredder has been a model patient here in rehab! They are eating all of their food, taking their vitamins and are defecating normally — all of which we love to see! They have finished all of their medications and are doing very well overall! Shredder is now up in Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery™, so come say hi!
January 15, 2023: Shredder continues to be a model patient; they’re healing, eating great and gaining weight like we hoped to see. They are active in their tank and love to interact with their enrichment. Keep shredding, little dude!
February 15, 2023: This little Kemp’s was able to make a quick recovery in rehab! Based on bloodwork, a physical exam and many other bench marks, it was decided that it was time for Shredder to go home! They made the trek down to Little Talbot Island State Park in Jacksonville, Florida to be released in warmer waters along with eight of their turtle friends. Wish them luck out in the big blue!