The Sea Turtle Healing Center cares for sick or injured sea turtles found primarily along the nearby Florida coast. While this facility is not open to the public, the effects of its work impact local sea turtle populations. An in-county facility means a shorter drive for patients, resulting in less stress and quicker treatment for distressed turtles.
Date admitted: November 17, 2021
Stranding location: Satellite Beach
Admission notes: This juvenile green sea turtle was found stranded in Satellite Beach on November 17. Upon arrival, they were thin, lethargic and sporting an older wound across the spine. Amaretto showed signs of possible spinal damage, like chronic gas and partial paralysis of the rear flippers, so a CT scan was warranted. The scan confirmed that their spinal canal was affected by the injury, but there is will communication between the vertebrae. Amaretto is buoyant in the water, which is typical of these sea turtles with spinal injuries. We will spend this patient’s stay assessing just how well they can use the water column and do “normal sea turtle things” with this injury.
March 24, 2022: Amaretto was released last month!
February 23, 2022: Amaretto is ready for release and will be sent back to the water this afternoon!
February 7, 2022: Amaretto is starting to warm up to their roommate, Jackal. They have been seen sleeping next to each other and peacefully sharing lettuce (fish and other proteins are a different story). The weight continues to help with GI motility, as we are seeing more frequent bowel movements and it is easier for Amaretto to swim around in general. We will keep the weight on for a total of a month and then remove it to see if the progress stays. We continue to do laser therapy in the area of the spinal injury and also added their front left flipper, where they have fractures. These fractures were present upon intake but recently became inflamed.
January 17, 2022: Amaretto got some bling! Since this sea turtle has been living with chronic buoyancy, we thought they could benefit from weight therapy. We added a small weight to the back of their carapace, just to help even them out. We are hoping with the weight keeping their booty down, this will help alleviate some gas in their GI and rid them of their buoyancy. With this weight, they went from doing a “downward dog” yoga pose to a “cobra” pose, which is more natural for a sea turtle. To help with the spinal inflammation that we believe is causing the gas and partial flipper paralysis, we started laser therapy in the area of the injury.
December 30, 2021: During Amaretto’s first couple of weeks with us, they were very buoyant. Radiographs uncovered gas build up in their GI, but they were able to lay on the bottom of the tank with just their back end sticking up (this looks like the “downward dog” yoga pose). This could be from the deformity in the spinal cavity from their injury. Over time, the gas has moved and Amaretto has been a little less buoyant! They are a good eater and enjoy time with their new roommate, Jackal. So far, these two have been very social with each other through the barriers in their pool and Jackal has been sneaking some of Amaretto’s lettuce.
Have you found a sea turtle that needs help? Visit this page or call the Sea Turtle Preservation Society at 321-206-0646.