Monday, March 15, 2010

After 7 months, "Pirate" starts to eat on his own!

When "Pirate" was admitted into the Aquarium's Sea Turtle Hospital in August 2009, he was comatose and suffering from lockjaw. Months of treatment have included tube feeding a super-gruel 3 times a week (a blue green algae, vitamin and raw fish smoothie as seen in the photo below), doing physical therapy on the jaw muscles, as well as administering antibiotics and muscle relaxers for the first couple of months.

"Pirate" is now able to open his mouth about 2-3 cm - just enough to fit a small piece of fish. It seems like it takes an eternity to actually get the food down (and at first it did) but the more he eats, the better he gets at it. We are now up to feeding about 5 small pieces of fish, twice daily. Just look at the determination in Pirate's eyes in this video!

We still have a long way to go before this animal will be considered releasable but this improvement is exciting! Keep checking back to Pirate's medical case log to get updates or better yet, come visit Pirate and the other 12 sea turtle patients in person. Many of them will be getting released in the spring. The new albino alligator exhibit opens this weekend so this is the perfect time to plan a trip to the South Carolina Aquarium!