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 18, 2021
Stranding location: Melbourne Beach
Status: In treatment
Admission notes: McNubbins is a juvenile green sea turtle that stranded on October 18 in Melbourne Beach missing all of their left front flipper and most of their right front flipper, which is most likely from a predator interaction. What is incredible is that the flippers are mostly healed and this sea turtle has great body condition, meaning they have been living and foraging quite well despite these injuries. McNubbins has started eating already and has been able to maneuver in their pool with ease. This sea turtle is a little anemic and may be fighting off a small infection.
March 24, 2022: McNubbins has been enjoying their time with their roommate, Venus. This sea turtle is still frequently seen laying across from their roommate, having “meetings” (you know, about turtle stuff). We have been in contact with FWC about finding a forever home for this sea turtle.
February 23, 2022: McNubbins played an important role in helping another sea turtle patient. Kindness, a juvenile green, was in dire need of a transfusion and McNubbins was the donor. We crossmatched their blood and they were compatible. Lady McNubbins was an excellent donor and we saw improvements in Kindness the next day! McNubbins was given some extra snacks after giving blood.
February 7, 2022: After a month and a half, Lady McNubbins has finally processed the extra air stuck in her body cavity. She can swim to the bottom of the pool and stay down. She has also been reunited with her buddy, Venus! They share one of our 12-foot pools together and couldn’t be a more fun pair to watch interact. Historically, these two sea turtles have lived very well together and even seem to enjoy each other’s company. They are very tactile with each other and are always curious as to what the other one is doing.
January 17, 2022: After scoping Lady McNubbins, she experienced problems with buoyancy. Radiographs uncovered a large amount of air in the body cavity. We have relieved McNubbins of the air many times, but it continues to refill with air, leading us to believe that she could have a lung tear. We administered a few blood patches, injecting her own blood into her body cavity to help heal the affected area, but had little success. Luckily, she has been doing great despite the buoyancy. We have been doing serial radiographs on her, and she seems to be slowly healing on her own.
December 30, 2021: McNubbins has readjusted to being back at the Healing Center and is up to their usual antics. As part of the process to assess if McNubbins is releasable, we felt it was necessary to know their gender. Our team performed a scope on December 20 and identified ovaries. Since Lady McNubbins is female, we must consider the potential issues she would come across in the wild, were she to be released, with her physical limitations. As a female, she would need to crawl up the beach to lay eggs. Additionally, during mating, the female are the ones that swim for both themselves and the male. Regardless of gender, we have to consider whether she would have a fair chance of escaping predators or boats. We will consider this all while debating her releasability.
December 9, 2021: McNubbins recently spent two weeks at The Florida Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center. Reports are that they did great and used the pool to its capacity! McNubbins and Venus returned home from their adventure in Tampa on December 2.
November 15, 2021: McNubbins has been adapting to rehabilitation great. This sea turtle needed minimal care from staff in the beginning, and now enjoys relaxing, enrichments and food falling from the sky! Staff has been monitoring how well McNubbins can swim with their remaining front flippers. While they can get around their pool just fine, it is concerning that they might not be able to handle the ocean on rough days. To help assess their abilities, McNubbins will be going to The Florida Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center for a deep-water trial with sea turtle Venus. We have housed these two together to make sure they are compatible before going to their trial.
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.