Smoky Quartz | South Carolina Aquarium

Smoky Quartz

Jul 13

Smoky Quartz

Kemp’s Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii)

Stranding Location: Apache Pier, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Arrival Date: 6/27/2021
Age:  Juvenile
Weight:  2.1 kg (4.6 lbs)

Case History

Smoky Quartz was caught by a fisher on Apache Pier in Myrtle Beach. When the fisher realized he had accidentally caught a sea turtle, he called South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR). SCDNR responded to the call and transported this patient to the Sea Turtle Care Center ™ for hook removal.


Smoky Quartz was alert when he was admitted into the Care Center for evaluation. After staff got a weight and blood draw on this new patient, an x-ray was taken to determine the location of the hook. The hook was located deep in the esophagus, specifically in an area from which it can be tricky to remove hooks without surgery. Once bloodwork was processed, it was determined that Smoky Quartz was stable enough to proceed with the hook removal. After sedation was given, Dr. Shane attempted to remove the hook without surgery, but was unable. Smoky Quartz was then intubated and fully anesthetized, and a small incision was made at the base of the throat so that Dr. Shane could access the esophagus. Using an endoscope, Dr. Shane was able to find the hook’s location and begin the tricky process of removing the hook. After several minutes, Dr. Shane was able to remove the hook and began suturing the incision site closed. Fluids vitamins and antibiotics were administered and another blood sample was taken post-op. Smoky Quartz had a stormy recovery after reversals to the sedation were given. Sometimes when sea turtles are put under anesthesia, it can take several hours, and in some cases a day or more, for them to fully recover. Smoky Quartz had to stay intubated and placed on a ventilator for the remainder of the day, and into the night, and was monitored closely by Dr. Shane. After a long night of patient care, Dr. Shane was able to extubate Smoky Quartz the following morning. Smokey Quartz was left to rest in a padded bin under close observation for the rest of the day. Two days after the surgical procedure, Smoky Quartz was very alert and well enough to be placed in a tank downstairs in our basement ICU.

July 15, 2021: Smoky Quartz has been doing fantastic since her arrival. She is eating and defecating normally now, which we love to see. She is always swimming around her tank and rarely takes a break! She now has new enrichment to hopefully help calm her down and help her feel safe enough to nap during the day.

August 15, 2021: There have been lots of developments for Smoky this month! Smoky Quartz got her stitches removed from the hook removal surgery, AND she got a new roommate. Smoky and Garnet are in a tank together to make room in other tanks for newer patients. Smoky Quartz has adjusted well and continues to heal.

September 9, 2021: Smoky Quartz passed his pre-release exam with flying colors and was released back into the big blue!

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