green (Chelonia mydas)

Stranding Location: Kiawah Island, SC

Arrival Date: 04/28/2011

Age: juvenile

Weight: 3.96 kg (8.7 lb)

Case History

This little green sea turtle (3.96 kg) was found on the beach 28 April 2011 near the Kiawah Island Inn. Joe Pezzullo of the Kiawah Island Turtle Patrol assisted in the rescue of this barnacle-encrusted turtle, who was immediately transported to our Sea Turtle Hospital by SCDNR. In keeping with our protocol of naming turtles by stranding location, this turtle was named “Eugenia” after a prominent avenue in the vicinity. Eugenia is the third live sea turtle our hospital has admitted for rehabilitation this year!

Treatment

Eugenia’s carapace and plastron were encrusted with many interesting marine epibionts, including gooseneck barnacles, sea squirts, and ulva, a lettuce type of green algae eaten by green sea turtles. S/he is initially being kept in very low salinity water to aid in debridement of these organisms. While her heart rate (28 bpm) and blood values (hematocrit 28%) were low upon arrival, they weren’t as low as we typically see in stranded animals. Eugenia received fluids with vitamin B complex, ceftazidime, and calcium gluconate upon arrival and will be monitored closely over the next couple of weeks.

Updates

4 May 2011: Many juvenile greens admitted into our hospital are suffering from GI tract impactions, typically caused by ingestion of foreign materials like plastic. However, Eugenia has been passing normal fecals like crazy since her arrival and this, combined with her ability to easily control her buoyancy and rest on the bottom of her tank, leads us to believe something other than an impaction led to her stranding. She began eating on 1 May and is eagerly consuming small amounts of fish off the bottom of her tank, which is a very encouraging sign. Once the barnacles are removed from her shell, we’ll take radiographs to assess her internal health.

23 May 2011: Eugenia is doing well! All epibionts have been debrided and her shell is beginning to heal, although a few deep pockets remain under the keratin of the carapace. Radiographs confirmed she does not have an impaction, although we are seeing four smaller radiodense objects in her intestines and are inspecting each fecal carefully to identify these. She eats the fish and vegetables we offer her like a champ, and is gaining weight well. Her prognosis is good.

Release Date

06/17/2011

Release Location

Isle of Palms County Park, SC