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: October 4, 2021
Stranding location: Lori Wilson Beach
Status: In treatment
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.
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.