loggerhead (Caretta caretta)

Stranding Location: Cape Romain Wildlife Refuge, SC

Arrival Date: 06/21/2011

Age: adult

Weight: 103.2 kg (~228 lb)

Case History

This 103 kg adult female loggerhead was found entangled in a rope from a discarded crab trap just off South Carolina’s densest sea turtle nesting beach, Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. USFWS staff and volunteers spent hours rescuing this turtle and assisted in her transport to our hospital. McClellan was also suffering from a recent boat strike wound on the caudal end of her carapace, likely the result of being unable to dive due to the entanglement. The rope entanglement was so severe and prolonged that her right front flipper self-amputated during transport.

Treatment

Fibrin surrounding the flipper injury suggested McClellan was entangled in the crab trap rope for at least five days, likely longer. Upon arrival to our hospital, her flipper and carapace wounds were flushed and treated. McClellan also received pain meds, fluids, antibiotics, and injectable vitamins, as well as iron injections. An ultrasound revealed McClellan was carrying shelled eggs, which she may drop in her tank in our hospital.

Updates

26 June 2011: McClellan laid 119 eggs in her tank overnight! Interns Kate and Kathryn sat with this turtle all night to remove eggs from her tank as they were deposited and gently place them in buckets of sand. We received authorization from SCDNR today to relocate this female’s eggs to the Isle of Palms, a local nesting beach. The attached photo shows the entire crew (both STH staff and volunteers, as well as IOP turtle team members) that assisted in the relocation of McClellan’s eggs. We are hopeful the eggs are viable and will hatch.

20 July 2011: An ultrasound performed yesterday revealed McClellan is carrying large developing follicles. While it is likely she will reabsorb them, we’ll keep an eye on this mama turtle. Luckily, she is eating very well in captivity and her wounds are healing well.

Release Date

10/07/2011

Release Location

Isle of Palms County Park, SC