Behind the Scenes banner

Green sea turtle Spumoni

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: Spumoni

Species: Green

Date admitted: August 21, 2021

Stranding location: Marineland Beach, Flagler County

Status: Released

Admission notes: This juvenile green sea turtle stranded on Marineland Beach in Flagler County and was originally picked up by the Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience, who did not have room at their facility and sent the patient to our Healing Center. Spumoni was found with a large load of fibropapillomatosis (FP) tumors tumors and wrapped in fishing line, which had gotten caught on some of the tumors. This sea turtle has growths on their eyes, plastron and mouth, but has great body condition otherwise. We are hoping they will begin eating soon. This patient stranded on National Spumoni Day, hence the name. Spumoni is an Italian gelato that is molded with candied nuts and fruits, featuring three flavors of ice cream: most commonly, pistachio, cherry and vanilla or chocolate.



March 24, 2022: Spumoni was released!

February 23, 2022: Spumoni had a repeat CT scan to look for any possible internal nodule growth and this sea turtle is clean! All they need to do is keep healing from surgery and they will be able to be released soon.

February 7, 2022: As of February 2, Spumoni had their fifth and final FP-removal surgery and is now tumor free! Typical of this sea turtle, they recovered very well and were their typical self in no time. We will do another routine CT scan to confirm there are no suspicious nodules growing internally.

January 17, 2022: Spumoni has been recovering well from their third surgery and their fourth and final procedure has been scheduled for next week! They continue to be rather unpredictable, and you never know what Spumoni you will get. Some days they will be curious and come to the surface with these big “feed me” eyes. Other days, they are standoffish. When staff or volunteers walk up to the tank, they snap their head dramatically, and watch us watch them. You will undoubtedly lose to a sea turtle in a breath-holding competition, but they may be just as fierce competitors in staring contests.

December 30, 2021: Spumoni had their third surgery to remove more FP tumors and did excellent. They had a quick recovery and were in the pool shortly after the procedure ended. We will wait a few weeks for this surgery site to heal and their red blood cell count to come back up until the next removal session. Spumoni should have only one more surgery left, and then they could be tumor free!

December 9, 2021: Spumoni lost a decent amount of blood from their last surgery and has been recovering since. This week, their red blood cell count was high enough for the second surgery to remove FP tumors. This procedure was focused on removing the rest of the tumors from the front half of their body, including an FP tumor they had in their mouth.

November 15, 2021: Spumoni had their first surgery to remove their FP tumors and did great. They had two tumors on boney areas of their face, so our veterinary staff had to take special care of these areas to prevent too much blood loss. This sea turtle has since been recovering well. Spumoni had tumors removed from their eyes, so they will be receiving an ophthalmic topical antibiotic to help heal this sensitive area and prevent infection.

October 15, 2021: Spumoni’s is a great patient. They are always active and such a great eater. Unfortunately, after spumoni’s surgery to remove the fishing line, the surgery site was not healing well and ended up opening, leaving the body cavity open to the environment. Staff worked quickly to close to site and added another medication to their regime to hopefully stop any infections from happening. A week later the site opened again, and the staff had to use a different approach. They attached a wound vac to the area and let the body heal the area without intervention of sutures. While this method ended up working well, Spumoni had to spend three days dry docked during the process. They are now back in water and continuing to heal very well. Once this surgical site farther along, they will be put on the schedule for their first FP removal surgery.

September 21, 2021: Spumoni started passing fishing line on August 20, and by the end of the day, staff had collected around two feet of line from them. Unfortunately, by the next day, the line had stopped moving. Spumoni was behaving normally, but the lack of progression with the line was very concerning. Later ultrasounds uncovered plication in the intestines. Before going ahead with surgery, Spumoni received a CT scan on September 14 at Rockledge Regional Medical Center to make sure they did not have any internal tumors and were a good candidate for surgery. Spumoni’s scan was clear, and they went into surgery that day! The procedure went very well and staff was able to clear the line. An enterotomy was made to look at the health of the intestines and while it looked inflammed, it was not enough to cause concern. Spumoni recovered quickly from surgery and was back in their pool eating by the end of the day. We will be scheduling this sea turtle for FP removal surgery at a later date.

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.