It's Beginning to Look a lot like Turtle Season!

This time last year, we wrote with a large white marker the number 129 on a turtle's carapace, ending the 2010 intakes as this was the last live turtle to come to the Animal Care Center. This year, on the same date, it feels like turtle season is just beginning. We have had 7 new additions of Kemp's ridley sea turtles in the past few days, which of course is nothing compared to last year's numbers, but it definitely makes it feel like turtle season! The clinic is starting to bustle with activities, heart rates being detected by dopplers (see below photo), turtles swimming in kiddy pools, and turtle shuffling to various rooms to raise them just the right temperature each day.

So let me do a brief introduction to which turtles came through the door this week and how they are doing.

#16, above photos, stranded on Thursday. He is actually doing fairly well, although he came in with the lowest body temperature so far this season (48 degrees F). I won't be surprised if he is swimming in a big tank by tomorrow.

The above photo shows Mary Anne and me doing an eye exam on #17, who arrived Friday morning. #17 has not been opening his right eye very well and possibly has an injury. We began to treat this turtle with eye drops each day which should hopefully clear this up within the week.

The above two turtles are #18 (left) and #20 (right) who came in Friday afternoon. #18 had a very low glucose so he has been getting some special intravenous injections of Dextrose and very closely monitored swims.

Above, #17, 18, and 20 swim in their kiddy pool while volunteer Mary Anne monitors their progress and takes notes on their behavior.

The above photo shows the plastron of #21, who arrived today (Saturday). Notice the barnacles on the right side of his plastron? It's not unusual for barnacles to attach to cold stunned turtles as they float in the water.

It is also not unusual to see lots of algae grow on the turtles, as you can see on #23 above. This turtle had long brown algae on his carapace and head.

Saturday ended with another kiddy pool swim of the newbies for the day, #21, 22, and 23. We use ice packs and ice to cool the water to the right temperature since we will warm them up slowly over the next few days.

I wonder if turtle season was just delayed and this is the beginning, or maybe it will just be a low number of turtles this year (perhaps they had time to get out of Cape Cod Bay). It is hard to say, but we'll know soon enough! Stay tuned this week to see what happens!


Learn more about the 2011 rescued turtles
So far, the heroes and villains theme has also named turtles Nightcrawler, Jack O'Lantern, Rorchach and Doomsday. These turtles will be treated until they are well enough for release into the wild, then they will be returned to the ocean in warmer waters. See photos of a recent release in this post. Caring for all the turtles is a big job, and any way you can help is appreciated.

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