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Working on Belle

Belle’s health is slowly improving.

We have an update on Belle: a resilient little green sea turtle who arrived on our doorstep dehydrated, underweight and full of plastic. The fourteen jagged plastic pieces inside their body had created life-threatening blockages in the GI tract that was quickly dealt with by our veterinary staff.   

The sharp plastic tore the turtle’s and damaged the colon causing permanent damage to the cloaca, and Belle continues to have internal blockages. It’s still a mystery as to what is causing this slow GI mobility, but Belle gets daily x-rays to see how barium-infused beads, a medicine used to show improved contrast on x-ray images, have moved through their system over time. We’re hopeful this will help lead to a prognosis.  

Despite these severe health issues, Belle has been continuing to eat and grow well. They’ve grown almost 2.5 cm in length, 2.0 cm in width and are close to triple their intake weight. This turtle has even begun to let their personality shine while under our care.  

“Belle behaves like a normal turtle,” said Sea Turtle Healing Center manager, Shanon Gann. “Belle loves to scratch on enrichment items and hide in the felt kelp in their pool.”   

Belle particularly enjoys scratching their carapace on a small brush attached to the side of their tank.  

It is our goal to release every sea turtle in our care back into their native range. We are guardedly optimistic Belle will be able to return home, and we are continuing to monitor their health and provide treatment. However, plastics and microplastics continue to remain a critical threat to Belle and other sea turtles in their aquatic homes.  

Here’s how you can help protect these crucial species through simple acts with big impact:   

  • Next time you’re at the beach or a local park, do a quick pickup of all the plastics you see near you.   
  • Make sure you pack up everything you brought with you to the beach.   
  • Skip using single-use plastics like straws, bags or bottles.

Have you found a sea turtle that needs help? Visit this page or call the Sea Turtle Preservation Society at 321-206-0646Want to help the Sea Turtle Healing Center? Support our Zoo, or view our Healing Center’s wishlist.