Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii)
Stranding Location: Hilton Head, SC
Arrival Date: 06/14/2009
Weight: 3.9 kg
Hilton arrived from Hilton Head, SC at about 1am early Sunday morning on June 14. The young Kemp’s ridley sea turtle had been caught by a fisherman on hook and line. The fisherman brought the turtle into shore because the hook was embedded in the esophogus and could not be retrieved by hand. When the turtle arrived at the Aquarium’s turtle hospital, he/she was incredibly feisty! It was difficult to measure “Hilton” because he was crawling all over the board!
Radiographs were performed to determine the location of the hook. There we actually 2 hooks found on the x-ray! Under full anesthesia, endoscopic surgery was performed to remove the hooks. Sadly, the second hook (and likely older incident) is nowhere to be visualized in the esophagus. This hook injury likely occurred in the past where the hook had time to penetrate and become encapsulated in the esophagus and surrounding subcutaneous tissue. This is not uncommon and many turtles carry fish-hooks in them throughout their lives. Invasive surgery will be required if we decide the hook presents a risk. The turtle will be evaluated in rehabilitation, and the hook may not need to be removed. Hilton is on antibiotics to ward off infection from either hook.
6 July 2009: Hilton is very feisty and has been taken off of antibiotics. He/She is eating very well! After 30 days of being off antibiotics, staff will take blood to analyze for release.
24 August 2009: We took blood on both Hilton and Mingo to see if they are ready for release -Hilton passed! Unfortunately Mingo did not…we need to do some work to get Mingo’s calcium level up before we will be able to release him/her.