MARATHON, Florida Keys – The Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital is caring and warming up 30 Kemp’s ridley sea turtles suffering from hypothermia just days after they were rescued from a frigid beach on Cape Cod Bay, Mass.
On Wednesday, each cold-stunned turtle had a full physical examination, X-rays, a swimming test and was administered intravenous fluids and Vitamin D, according to Bette Zirkelbach, the hospital’s manager
“We’re trying to slowly raise their body temperatures,” Zirkelbach said. “We’re hoping they will get healthy enough so they can be released.”
Zirkelbach said some of the turtles have secondary issues including head trauma and pneumonia.
The 30 are a portion of 193 flown to Orlando in banana boxes by the U.S. Coast Guard Tuesday evening with the balance going to four other Florida-based marine animal rehabilitation centers.
In fall, sea turtles migrate to warmer waters to escape the cold climate of the north. That is because sea turtles, like all reptiles, are cold-blooded creatures that rely on the environment to control their body temperatures. But sometimes they get trapped in the coastal waters near the shore and are exposed to cold conditions.
Cold stunning is a phenomenon in which hypothermia sets in because of being exposed to extreme cold weathers. The animals affected by it develop laziness, with the heart rates lowering to critical levels and muscles fatigue. If it is untreated then it can lead to the setting of pneumonia, shock and even in some cases — death.”