Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Stranded loggerhead from Hilton Head admitted into Sea Turtle Hospital

The SC Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) arrived yesterday afternoon with a loggerhead sea turtle that washed up on Hilton Head's front beach. In order to keep the turtle from overheating in the back of the covered SCDNR truck on the drive to Charleston, the young loggerhead was placed in a kiddie pool with shallow water and covered in wet towels. Ice was packed around the pool to keep the temperature cool in this southern July heat.

The turtle's carapace (shell) was 90% covered with marine growth including barnacles, mussels, tube worms, skeleton shrimp and slipper shells. Marine leeches were also present on the soft tissue. Outside of this marine growth and the obvious lethargy, the patient's external condition is actually fair, unlike most of the animals we admit into our hospital.
Normal admission procedures were performed to find out more about the turtle's condition which would help determine the treatment plan. These procedures included taking measurements, scanning for tags, drawing blood, measuring heart rate and conducting a thorough physical examination. Initial treatment included fluid therapy, antibiotics, vitamin injections and a shallow tank of fresh water to kill the marine growth and help keep the turtle hydrated overnight.
A huge thanks goes to the Hilton Head folks that found this turtle as they walked searching for sea turtle nests on the beach. Also to Jenna Cormany from SCDNR for the hours on the road to get this animal treatment. As always, we owe a tremendous amount of thanks to our incredible volunteer crew and interns at the South Carolina Aquarium's Sea Turtle Hospital.
This turtle will be posted on the main hospital page with more details of condition, treatment and photographs. Please check back for regular updates!