Thursday, October 9, 2008

Critically injured patients show improvement!

Both Myrtle, the Kemp’s ridley with the severe head fracture and North Myrtle, the loggerhead with a crushed shell and pneumonia, have survived very traumatic injuries and are currently showing signs of improvement. The final prognosis for both sea turtles is still questionable but turtle hospital staff and volunteers are rejoicing at positive progress!

Myrtle started showing interest in food in late September and now has an appetite that rivals even the healthiest of patients in the hospital. The small, 5-pound sea turtle has been floating at the surface of the water since he was first introduced into a tank. The video clip was taken just after he started eating and was put in a larger filtered system and shows that he is actually able to dive if it means getting tasty fish morsels!

North Myrtle has been receiving antibiotic nebulization for over a month to treat pneumonia and although the turtle has shown signs of increased activity, she has shown no interest in food the entire time – until this week that is. On October 6, North Myrtle ate a live blue crab which is the first time food was willingly eaten. Blue crabs are a natural dietary item for loggerheads in the wild and we keep a steady supply of them for the loggerheads in rehabilitative care. The video clip shows North Myrtle eating the crab. As her appetite and energy level increase, so will the speed at which she attacks the crab. We are thrilled that 6-year old Ethan Harrison visited from Ontario that same day to donate $1000 of hard earned money to support the sick and injured sea turtles. Perhaps Ethan was a good luck charm for our injured North Myrtle. Thank you, Ethan, for your hard work in raising funds to support this program and your passion for sea turtle conservation!

Stay tuned in to the hospital page for updates on Myrtle, North Myrtle and the other 6 sea turtle patients in the South Carolina Aquarium’s Turtle Hospital!