loggerhead (Caretta caretta)
Stranding Location: Fishing Pier at Folly Beach, SC
Arrival Date: 06/16/2012
Weight: 27.78 kg (~61 lb)
This vibrant little loggerhead has survival skills many sea turtles would be envious of! At least one month prior to being caught on hook-and-line by a recreational fisherman at the Folly Beach fishing pier, Pier had a close encounter with a large predator, possibly a shark. Although the predator made a meal out of a large section of the back of Pier’s carapace (shell), Pier managed to avoid losing any of his flippers and successfully escaped. This carapace wound began healing on its own, a testament to the resiliency of sea turtles in the wild. It is unusual, however, for fishermen to catch this species of sea turtle on hook-and-line, so the wound may have reduced Pier’s fitness enough to encourage him to seek what appeared to be an easy food source: bait on a hook. Once Pier was netted and brought onto the dock, rescuers noticed that the carapace wound was actively bleeding and reported the stranding to the SCDNR sea turtle stranding hotline at 1.800.922-5431.
Pier’s carapace injury was flushed upon arrival to our hospital, and he was started on antibiotics to help his body fight the infection associated with the wound. His blood work was relatively good (PCV=36%), especially compared to the emaciated patients we usually admit. We are hopeful that Pier will make a quick recovery and return to the wild later this year.
13 August 2012: Pier’s shark bite wound has healed beautifully and he is now scheduled for release this Thursday, August 16th, at 3:00 P.M. at Beachwalker County Park. Hope to see you there!
Beachwalker County Park, Kiawah, SC