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a loggerhead sea turtle

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.

Name: Cinnamon

Species: Loggerhead

Date admitted: October 4, 2021

Stranding location: Lori Wilson Beach

Status: Released

Admission notes: Cinnamon stranded with multiple severe cranial fractures as a result from an interaction with most likely a boat propeller. The fracture exposed the jaw muscles of the left side of their head and ran above their left eye. Luckily the eye is still healthy and unharmed. They were also missing half of their front left flipper, presumably from the same interaction. The Rockledge Regional Medical Center was able to get this turtle in for CT immediately. They CT showed multiple fractures of the neurocranium (the skeletal structure that holds the brain) in addition to what could be seen externally. We do not see any signs of damage to the brain, despite the fractures to the casing, so we continued with treatments on this patient.

 

UPDATES

February 11, 2022: Cinnamon was released yesterday afternoon in Cocoa Beach along with patient ThunderHold! Safe travels, Cinnamon!

February 7, 2022: Cinnamon’s head looks amazing! Staff did their (hopefully) final bloodwork and, if the results are good, this sea turtle will be going home! On February 1, Cinnamon stopped eating, but we are hopeful that it is only behavioral. This began after we pulled them inside and drydocked them during cold weather as a safety precaution. We offered Cinnamon live prey (a lobster) to try and entice them to eat, but to no avail. This lobster is now their friend and is often seen hiding underneath Cinnamon and eating discarded food. Additional bloodwork was run to see if there were any abnormal changes in their chemistries, but everything came back within normal rangel. We would like to move forward with releasing Cinnamon as we suspect they are not eating due to stress.

January 17, 2022: Cinnamon came out last week for their monthly bloodwork and an examination. Their cranial fracture is healing very well. We were able to remove most of the fibrin from the area and it looks as if the tissues are starting to heal, stabilizing the fracture. We will monitor the area for a little longer until we feel it is stabilized enough for the rough and tumble life loggerheads have out in the ocean!

December 30, 2021: Cinnamon’s skull fractures continue to heal beautifully. We have been waiting for the mobile fragment to heal a bit more before giving her enrichment, but a recent exam of the area gave Cinnamon the “OK” to have one! They were first given a large lean-to hut  but she didn’t use it often, so we swapped it out for a large “itchy” enrichment and they’ve spent more time scratching their shell on it!

December 9, 2021: Cinnamon has been doing excellent. They eat consistently and recently had their e-tube removed! Staff debrided a lot of scabs off of the cranial fractures and healthy scar tissue was underneath. Cinnamon still has a very mobile fracture on their head, but we have continued to clean and monitor the site as it heals more.

November 15, 2021: Cinnamon has spent the first part of their stay in a rather lethargic state, not interested in eating and very rigid. Staff has been keeping their head wound clean and monitoring it, but really just letting the fracture heal on its own. We discovered that Cinnamon loves their shell scratched, so we began brushing the shell to wake them up and encourage movement. Afterwards, we offer food and noticed that while this sea turtle would watch the food, they would not eat it. Staff tried placement feeding every meal, where the patient is encouraged to open their mouth and a piece of food is placed, but Cinnamon would always spit it right back out. Unfortunately, too much time had passed for them to not be eating, so we placed an e-tube on October 29. After a few days of getting food into their belly, Cinnamon ate their first piece of food on their own! The first few days of eating was done by placement feeding, but after a few days, this sea turtle was able to start taking food off tongs and then picked it up off the bottom. Since eating on their own, Cinnamon’s “spicy” loggerhead attitude has started to bloom. They still like to sleep a lot, but we are hoping things will soon turn around with their new-found appetite!

October 7, 2021: Vet staff was able to clean the head wound and manipulate the flap of skull back into its proper position. They do well in water, but has not shown interest in eating yet. They are very heavy sleepers and have been keeping volunteers and staff on their toes, thinking the worst, but all it takes is a gentle scratch on the shell and they will wake right up. Then they turn around with a look that says, “Can I help you!?”…

 


Have you found a sea turtle that needs help? Visit this page or call the Sea Turtle Preservation Society at 321-206-0646.

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