Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii)
Stranding Location: Myrtle Beach, SC
Arrival Date: 6/23/23
Weight: 3.18 kg (6.99 lbs)
Yoshi was caught by an angler on the Myrtle Beach State Park Fishing Pier. Fortunately, the hook was superficially caught in the beak and fell out on its own when the turtle was brought up in a net onto the pier. Yoshi was thin and dehydrated, with numerous abrasions and wounds with exposed bone on their shell. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) therefore determined that the turtle should be be transported to the Sea Turtle Care Center™ for further assessment.
Yoshi was radiographed and given a full medical exam by our vet staff upon arrival. The wounds on their carapace and the abrasions and bruising on their plastron were assessed and treated topically. The radiographs showed a large amount of crab shell throughout the patient’s digestive tract. Staff will monitor the defecations to make sure there is not an impaction. Yoshi’s bloodwork was relatively unremarkable and the turtle was alert and active. Yoshi was treated with antibiotics, fluids and vitamins and tested in a full tank the ICU. The patient looked strong enough to leave in water overnight and will be offered a couple of pieces of fish tomorrow.
Yoshi was one active turtle throughout the night and into the next day. It wasn’t until later the second day that they finally slowed down and rested on the bottom. The patient had already started to pass a good amount of crab shell overnight, so we offered a couple pieces of fish and shrimp to see if the turtle would show interest in eating yet. With Yoshi actively swimming around the tank, it took some time to notice the food, but eventually the turtle was hungry and curious enough to explore and slowly eat all of the pieces offered! Staff will continue to offer a couple pieces for the next few days to ensure that Yoshi is adjusting well before increasing to a weighted diet. We are sure Yoshi will be gobbling down large amounts of food in no time!
July 15, 2023: Yoshi is healing well! This little patient has been eating a full diet and gaining weight. When out for antibiotic injections, staff has been treating Yoshi’s carapace abrasions with topical treatment to keep the wounds clean and encourage tissue growth. The new tissue growth tends to look a little crusty at first but indicates that the wound is healing! Yoshi’s plastron bruising is also starting to fade as they heal and gain weight. Yoshi will look good as new in no time!
August 15, 2023: Yoshi is looking great! The bruising on the plastron has faded and the abrasions on the carapace have cleared of dead bone and tissue for new fibrin to fill in. The patient still has some weight to gain, but luckily Yoshi eats every piece of fish offered quickly. Hopefully this little turtle will gain this weight in no time!
September 15, 2023: Yoshi has been tagged! Due to Yoshi’s weight gain, healed wounds, healthy turtle behavior and appetite, our vet staff is currently evaluating her/him for release! In addition to receiving a PIT tag, blood was drawn to determine if Yoshi’s blood work and nutritional values are in range to be considered for release. Keep your fingers crossed for Yoshi!
September 26, 2023: Yoshi was released at Folly Beach County Park today! We are very excited that Yoshi has healed so well and is able to go home. Wish Yoshi the best of luck back out in the big blue!