2015 Turtles: A very unusual patient

Our rescuers are working hard to keep up with turtle exams, transports, feedings and more. This is already our third largest stranding season! But we'll share news and tidbits when we can. Stay tuned.

A vast majority of the turtles that we treat at the Aquarium's rescue facility are juvenile Kemp's ridley sea turtles. They are about the size of a dinner plate, easily held by volunteers during regular check-ups.

A volunteer drains water from a Kemp's ridley before its exam

But this year, which is already shaping up to be somewhat unusual, we got an even more unusual patient—a large turtle that looks very much like an adult Kemp's ridley sea turtle. This turtle weighs around 40 pounds and is too big for some of our recovery pools already brimming with smaller turtles. Volunteers must lift her out of her pool and into a large, topless kennel carrier for her exam, which includes blood tests and a careful examination of her flippers, shell and mouth.

The large Kemp's weighs about 40 pounds.
The Kemp's in its kennel carrier for an exam. 
Connie examines the turtle's carapace, or top shell, as volunteers look on
Julika and Connie look inside the turtle's mouth for abrasions or obstructions. 

While we're still waiting on some tests, this turtle appears to have several underlying issues including a swollen flipper and pneumonia. Right now we're just at the early stages of treating her. She needs to fight off any of her infections before we're able to look into any problems with her joints. Stay tuned for updates on her progress during her long road to recovery.

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