Turtle Rescue Stories: X-Turtles United!

Each winter up to 150 cold-stunned sea turtles are rescued and brought to the Aquarium for rehabilitation so they can be released back into the wild. The Marine team chooses a naming theme for these turtles every year. This year's theme is comic book heroes and villains. In this post, Adam introduces some new patients.

Hi everyone! With this year's hero/villian naming theme, I thought it would be fun to make up a couple of "comic" stories for you. As well as give you an update on some of our turtles!

The Heroes

#8 Nightcrawler: Came in on November 7. Has been doing really good and is starting to fill out his/her shell. It's teleportation power is also coming in pretty handy as the turtle moves from one turtle lane to another (with the assistance of staff and volunteers of course!).

#11 Bishop: Another turtle that came in fairly early on is also doing well. Bishop does not have to travel through or pause time to realize that that these X-turtles will help get better. And that getting a free meal is the best way to recovery in the turtle hospital.

#17 Cyclops: You can see in the photo this turtle has some antibiotic ointment on the right eye. All though we do know that the eye is fully functional when the triple antibiotic ointment is applied it does limit the use of the eye. As the scarring heals this turtle will return to full vision.

All of these turtles need to get better soon as one of their arch villains is in the lane next to them!

The Villains

#29 The Juggernaut: It takes three volunteers to hold him!

Juggernaut is currently our only loggerhead sea turtle. This turtle has definitely been through some scrapes before getting to our hospital unit. (S)he has suffered some minor cracks on the plastron and has some lacerations and smaller cuts in the shoulder area as well as on the carapace. But, like the mighty Juggernaut, I have no fear this turtle will conquer those injuries and get back out to the ocean to wreck havoc on crabs and shellfish everywhere!

Now for the comic panels...

It is a tough job patrolling the waters against possible attack.

X-Turtles team up to drive off the mighty Loggernaut!

After Nightcrawler pounced on Juggernaut he and the X-turtles were able to fend him off!

For now...

But eventually they may need reinforcements. Fortunately another hero has joined the team!

Rescue team volunteer Diane is holding Colossus.

#39 Colossus: This one is our largest Kemp's ridley this stranding season weighing in at a whopping 4.75 kilograms (10.5 lbs).

Above you can "see" Diane behind the turtle. This turtle is so big that it actually fully blocks her.

Though this turtle is a little over ten pounds, its biggest problem is anorexia and thinness. A turtle this size should be closer to fifteen pounds. Colossus still hasn't eaten yet but we are working hard at getting him or her to start.


Stay tuned for more turtle patient introductions ... Wolverine vs Sabretooth?

Learn more about the 2011 rescued turtles
The Aquarium's Marine Animal Rescue team is rehabilitating dozens of rescued sea turtles brought in by volunteers walking beaches along Cape Cod. 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.

All comic book images are from Marvel.com, click on each image to link to source. 


  1. very cool, keep up the good work!

  2. We think you are doing a fantastic job with the turtles and have loved this blog for years. We know that you chose this year's naming theme with good intentions. However, we did want to respectfully leave you the feedback that this theme is not age appropriate for NEAQ's youngest supporters. Sadly this year as we attempt to read your posts and share with our child the wonderful work you are doing we find ourselves instead having to hide scary pictures and explain who various villains are. We do hope you will select a more universally appropriate theme in the future. Keep up the great work and we'd love to see some posts with just the turtles!

  3. To the Anonymous poster above - your point is well taken. If you are reading this then please feel free to vote for Ms. Bianca in the naming theme for our new loggerhead. While not from a comic book (and I'm taking a lot of heat for that!), she's still a heroine - and not at all frightening! thanks for sharing your insight, we do want to remain kid friendly.

  4. I just want to say, I love the themed names this year. I don't believe there is anything inappropriate for any age being shown, The X-men are all about acceptance and ensuring survival in a harsh world. For these turtles, I don't think there could be anything more appropriate than having a title that represents a group that is willing to do what's right even in the face of adversity and oppression, a lesson any kid would be better off knowing from an early age.

  5. A friend and I found a turtle on Ryder Beach in Truro in December (between the 12th and the 14th) which the Wellfleet Audubon Sanctuary brought to you -- any way of knowing which of your turtles it might be? It was a Kemp's ridley, and had some eye damage, but to the left eye (just a little bleeding that we could see). I'd love to know how he/she's doing!