How do you feed a loggerhead that won't eat?

Many of you followed along during the crush of the cold-stun season. It was an unbelievably busy season. But now that new turtles are no longer arriving at the hospital, we've settled into the day-to-day routine of caring for the patients that remain at the Animal Care Center here in Quincy. That means regular medical check-ups and regular meals, of course.

We can usually get the loggerheads eating without much prompting. However, a large group of these big guys (or possibly gals) showed no interest in eating.

Above: notice the large size of the beak on the loggerhead sea turtle.

Due to the size of the large crushing beaks on these turtles we would typically isolate the non-eaters into smaller pools or lanes and really focus our attention on them there. However, with 25 loggerheads in the rehab facility space is at a premium.

So, we decided to risk getting in the tank with them. I myself have been chased by loggerheads we have had in the past when attempting to remove them from tanks for procedure. Needless to say don't try this at home!

During the feeding we needed spotters around the pools to make sure any aggressive turtle could be spotted and alert one of the people in the tank that was attempting to feed another turtle.

Above you can see various attempts of getting herring or squid in front of the turtles.

There's always the old way of just sacraficing the body and getting soaked up to the shoulder!

As you can see, the technique involves dangling a tasty morsel right in front of the turtle with a set of long tongs (actually huge hemostats). One way or the other, the turtles are getting the nourishment they need to recover from their cold-stunning!

As you can see from the post above having this many large turtles together presented challenges that were new to us. Since these attempts, we have been able to transport a large number of the turtles to other facilities in our Northeast network and further south to other rehab facilities as well as releasing those turtles healthy enough to return home to the ocean.
— Adam

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