loggerhead (Caretta caretta)
Stranding Location: R\V Lady Lisa, SCDNR research vessel outside of Hilton Head Island
Arrival Date: 06/20/2013
Weight: 97.1 kg (~215 lb.)
Miss Royal, a 215 lb. adult female was caught on board the SCDNR research vessel the Lady Lisa, just off of Hilton Head Island. She was found with an old large propeller wound to the right side of her carapace extending through her right rear flipper.
Since the wounds were weeks old (dead bone at margins and fibrin present), minor wound treatment was only necessary. Her wounds were flushed with sterile water and Aluspray, an aluminum disinfectant spray was also applied. The propeller did not completely sever the rear right flipper, leaving the piece connected with a small amount of tissue. Injectable antibiotics and vitamins were also administered at admission. Due to Miss Royal’s size and the location of the prop wound, an ultrasound was performed and thankfully found no eggs!
2 July 2013: Surgery to remove the hanging portion of the rear flipper was successful and Miss Royal is healing well. She has an excellent appetite but only currently eats blue crabs, which are a bit of a challenge for us to provide as she eats so many of them (5+) every day! On an interesting note, Miss Royal’s recent fecals have contained a large amount of pen shell clam shells, which are iridescent and very sharp.
23 July 2013: Miss Royal continues to thrive in our hospital and is healing well! She still has preferences for blue crabs, forcing us to get creative with various way to introduce fish into her diet.
11 November 2013: Miss Royal has become a favorite among visitors to our sea turtle hospital. Kids are in awe of her impressive size, and everyone enjoys watching her chase down and eat live prey. Thanks to one of our dedicated volunteer divers, who has caught and donated 627 live blue crabs to our hospital this year alone (wow!), Miss Royal has been well-fed during her recovery period. Plus, we’ve been able to convince her that mackerel is yummy as well. This inclusion of restaurant-quality fish in her diet took weeks of stuffing blue crabs with progressively larger pieces of fish, but it worked and was well worth the effort. Come see this big girl before she returns to the wild in the near future!
3 February 2014: Since our pickiest turtle finally decided to start eating mackerel, we have seen a slight improvement with her blood work and are really hoping she will be ready to head home in the spring. The boat strike to her carapace and rear flipper have healed beautifully but the plastron fracture still needs some attention and is being debrided every couple of weeks.