Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii)
Stranding Location: Edisto, SC
Arrival Date: 08/01/2012
Weight: 2.3 kg (~5 lb.)
This juvenile Kemp’s ridley is one of the smallest turtles ever admitted into our Sea Turtle Hospital. At only 4.6 lb., Murray is likely a yearling Kemp’s ridley that hatched somewhere along the Gulf Coast on the beaches of Texas or Mexico last year. Murray was very thin when he arrived at our facility, which may help explain why he chose to eat the easy-to-catch bait on a fisherman’s hook rather than chase down natural live prey.
Upon arrival, Murray received a thorough physical examination to ensure his injuries were limited to the hook stuck in his esophagus (which they were). Digital radiographs allowed us to visualize the exact location of the hook in Murray’s throat. After sedating this little turtle, our veterinarian, Dr. Boylan, was able to extract the barbed hook from his throat non-surgically. This is great news, as Murray will likely progress through rehab and be returned to the wild much more quickly than if he had to recover from a surgical incision. Murray is currently on antibiotics and eagerly consuming a good amount of healthy smelt, capelin, and mackerel every day.
28 August 2012: Murray is such a cutie! He is eating and defecating well, and absolutely loving the 3 backscratchers we have in his tank. He still needs to gain some weight, but should be releaseable soon.
16 September 2012: Murray has been cleared for release! Details are yet to be determined, so keep checking our website.
Beachwalker County Park, Kiawah, SC