loggerhead (Caretta caretta)

Stranding Location: Massachusetts

Arrival Date: 11/04/2009

Age: juvenile

Weight: 45 kg (~ 99 lbs)

Case History

This young 42 kg loggerhead was part of the November 2008 cold-stunning event off the coast of New England. Sea turtles are unable to regulate their body temperature and if coastal waters cool quickly, turtles in the area become hypothermic and are unable to migrate into warmer waters. As a result, Santos suffered severe septic cutaneous ulcerative disease (SCUD). Basically, the bacteria in the blood (sepsis) caused the keratin scutes and bone to shed and they are regenerating slowly. The Marine Animal Rehabilitation Center (MARC) at the University of New England in Maine treated this turtle for a year before her transfer to our hospital.

Treatment

Santos was transferred to our hospital on 4 November 2009 to finish rehabilitation in order to make room at the MARC facility for new cold-stunned patients this winter. Santos was in good condition and received only fluids upon arrival at the Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital.

Updates

9 November 2009: Large portions of dead bone were debrided from the carapace and healthy pink tissue was present underneath (a good sign). Santos is active and becoming accustomed to his new home.

19 January 2010: Santos is not fond of eating blue crabs, a natural food source for loggerheads. We are currently conditioning this turtle to eat natural prey using both live and frozen crabs. He will usually consume frozen crabs that have been somewhat crushed to make them aromatic, but still shows no interest in chasing and consuming live prey. This is a challenging issue but one we are confident we can overcome!

12 May 2010: After months of effort to encourage Santos’ interest in blue crabs, a critical natural food source, he has been eagerly capturing and consuming them on a daily basis since 15 April. Although we will retain this turtle for some time to allow his severe shell damage to heal, Santos is now one critical step closer to release!

4 July 2010: The remaining sections of dead bone were debrided from Santos’ shell on 16 June to reveal healthy, healing tissue. Santos has responded very well to treatment and is very close to release.

25 August 2010: Santos will be released at Folly Beach County Park this Saturday, August 28th, at 4:00 p.m.

Release Date

08/28/2010

Release Location

Folly Beach County Park, SC

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