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a green 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: Hiccup

Species: Green

Date admitted: October 10, 2021

Stranding location: Jetty Park

Status: In treatment

Admission notes: This juvenile green turtle came to the STHC on October 10, after being found struggling at the surface of the water in Jetty Park. This turtle has a “twitch”, where they flick their head, and it almost looks like they have hiccups. (In mammals, hiccups are caused from a muscle spasm in the diaphragm. Reptiles don’t have diaphragms so what this turtle is experiencing is not actually a hiccup). We believe this turtle could have some neurologic distress, causing the head twitch. Due to the spasm, the turtle is not able to get their head up and take a proper breath, so they are in a shallow kiddy pool for the time being. We brought this turtle for a CT at the Rockledge Regional Medical Center and sent out samples from Hiccup to test for toxins. We do not have either of these reports back yet. Upon intake this turtle had no interest in eating but they have started to take their first bites in the last couple days!



November 15, 2021: Hiccup had a CT scan on October 5 and it uncovered plastron fractures and carapace abnormalities. Staff also noticed that their right hyoid bone is fractured. Hiccup’s “hiccups” have not subsided, and they still will not eat on their own. Staff has placed an e-tube to facilitate feeding to keep weight on this sea turtle while more diagnostics are taken. During this time, Hiccup became positive for Caryospora and we began treatments for this infection.

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

Want to help the Sea Turtle Healing Center? Support our Zoo, or view our Healing Center’s wishlist.