Loggerhead Sea Turtle Rescued; Treated by CROW

provided by CROW

The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) sees nearly 200 different species of native and migratory wildlife admitted to its hospital each year, including three different species of sea turtle. As the only licensed sea turtle rehabilitator on the west coast between Sarasota and the Florida Keys, CROW hospital typically admits 12 to 20 sub-adult or adult turtles a year and dozens of hatchlings.

On August 18, this sub-adult loggerhead sea turtle, weighing 110 pounds, was rescued from the surf near Beach Access #5 on Sanibel as it was washing ashore. The turtle was missing its right front flipper, but this appeared to be an older injury that had already healed. Veterinarians performed a full exam including bloodwork and radiographs. The turtle was found to be moderately to severely dehydrated and undernourished along with copious amounts of barnacles on its shell, underside and mouth.

The veterinary team provided the turtle with subcutaneous fluids, iron and B12 supplements and antibitoics to treat any lingering infection that may have been present from the traumatic injury to its flipper. It was then transferred to an outdoor rehab tank filled with freshwater which helps with hydration and kills off barnacles growing on the shell. Over the next few days, the water was transitioned to brackish water and then pool salt was used to gradually match the salinity of seawater.

“This turtle has been doing well since being admitted and has been eager to eat, unlike many of the turtles that we see,” says Rehabilitation Manager Breanna Frankel. “It has already gained nearly 6 kilograms or about 12 pounds, but still needs to put on more weight before being evaluated for release.”

Blue crabs

Getting a sea turtle to gain weight is no easy (or cheap) task. A loggerhead turtle will eat two to three percent of its body weight in squid and fish each day. For a turtle weighing over 100 pounds, that’s a lot of food! Thanks to generous donations from Whitney’s Bait and Tackle Shop, the turtle also gets to enjoy blue crabs, one of it’s favorite foods.

“It is important that we provide a variety of foods for the turtles in our care to ensure they get the right nutrition to help them recover,” says Frankel. “The crabs donated by Whitney’s are always a hit and can often help us get a turtle who is not eating to start. We are so thankful for their generosity and support!”

THIS WEEK AT CROW (8/19-8/25):
There were 135 new patients admitted to CROW’s Wildlife Hospital including 31 eastern gray squirrels, six Virginia opossums, two Cooper’s hawks, four laughing gulls, three sandwish terns, two yellow-crowned night herons, a great horned owl, a northern flicker, a yellow-throated warbler and an American alligator. Recent Releases include a North American river otter, a boat-tailed grackle, an osprey and three loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings. Check out a full list of CROW’s current patients and recent releases!

Wildlife doesn’t have health insurance. Your donations help cover the costs of medical and rehabilitative care for over 5,000 patients admitted to CROW’s Wildlife Hospital each year. Want to learn more about wildlife rehabilitation? Stop by CROW’s Visitor Education Center at 3883 Sanibel Captiva Road. All Florida residents receive 10% off admission with proof of residency throughout the month of September!

About Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW)
Established in 1968, the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) is a teaching hospital saving the sick, injured and orphaned native and migratory wildlife of Southwest Florida and beyond.  Through state-of-the-art veterinary care, public education programs and an engaging visitor center, CROW works to improve the health of the environment, humans and our animals through wildlife medicine. For more information, or to plan your visit, go to http://www.crowclinic.org. If you find an animal that is in need of help, call (239) 472-3644 ext. #222.

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