Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii)
Stranding Location: Cherry Grove Fishing Pier, North Myrtle Beach, SC
Arrival Date: 6/22/2019
Weight: 3.08 kgs (7 pounds)
Sarafina was caught on hook and line at the Cherry Grove Fishing Pier in North Myrtle Beach. The fisherman removed the hook, but was concerned for the turtle so they contacted the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) for further guidance. Sarafina was then transported by SCDNR volunteers and S.C.U.T.E turtle team members to the South Carolina Aquarium to make sure there were no additional hooks that may have been swallowed.
Sarafina was very active when she arrived to the Sea Turtle Care Center. Dr. Bryan did a quick physical exam and did not see a hook present in her mouth. Blood was pulled and a series of x-rays was done to see if there were any additional hooks present in her gastrointestinal tract or stomach. As suspected, there was a large J hook in the GI tract. The hook appeared to be surrounded by crab hash and what we hoped to be food material. Given the location of the hook, Dr. Bryan wanted to see if the hook would pass before removing it surgically, as it would be difficult to access. Sarafina’s bloodwork results were good. She was a little dehydrated so fluids were administered, and she was started on antibiotics. Since is was a late night, Sarafina was placed in a waterbed to rest overnight.
June 24, 2019: Sarafina received another x-ray the following morning. The hook appeared to have descended further in the GI tract. Dr. Bryan wanted to see if she would be able to pass it before doing a surgical procedure to remove it. After being in a tank for just one whole day, she defecated the hook! Sarafina is one lucky turtle!
July 1, 2019: Sarafina has been doing well after passing the hook! She is on antibiotics to prevent any infection that might occur from ingesting the hook. Sarafina is not interested in food yet, but that is not uncommon for new turtles — it sometimes takes a little while for them to become interested in fish.
July 16, 2019: Sarafina is eating and slowly getting diet increases. She didn’t defecate for longer than we like, so we did a radiograph last week to check everything out. She’s almost finished with antibiotic injections and just needs to put on some weight.
August 1, 2019: Sarafina is doing fantastic. We have been slowly increasing her diet to get her to gain a bit of weight. She seems to have no long-term complications from the hook removal and can hopefully be released in the next couple of months!
August 15, 2019: Nothing new to report with Sarafina! This little cutie is super active and splashy. We’re just giving her time to gain weight.