Sea Turtles VS Aquatic Turtles

provided by Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife

On Thursday, CROW admitted 16 Loggerhead Sea Turtle hatchlings and 10 Green Sea Turtle hatchlings after Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation found they failed to emerge from their nests. The SCCF Sea Turtle Program Team surveys 18 miles of beach from the Sanibel Lighthouse to Blind Pass every morning during nesting season with the help of more than 100 highly trained volunteers. Sea turtle hatchlings’ front flippers are designed for swimming in the ocean and navigating marine environments, but not every turtle found on or near the beach belongs in the ocean.

On July 3, an adult Striped Mud Turtle (22-3454) was found struggling in the ocean on Sanibel after the finder misidentified them as a sea turtle. Upon admission, the mud turtle was dehydrated, lethargic, and quiet with a dry, flaky shell. Veterinarians expressed concern for inhalation of salt water from the potential drowning event so hospital staff placed the turtle in rehabilitative care and administered an antibiotic to ward off any infection like pneumonia! Our rehab team crafted a beautiful temporary enclosure for the turtle’s recovery and after nine days, SCCF released the mud turtle into their ideal habitat- the brackish/freshwater ponds and sloughs in marshes and wetlands.

If the turtle has flippers, safe to say they belong in the ocean; however, the journey from nest to ocean is critical in the early development of sea turtle hatchlings so if you see any making their way to the water, please let them navigate the path on their own! If you want to help sea turtle hatchlings make it safely to the ocean, please leave nothing but your footprints on the beach, flatten any sandcastles, fill in any holes from umbrellas or beach chairs, pick up any trash you see, and if you live near the beach turn your lights off at night or swap them out for red lights which are less likely to disorient hatchlings following the moonlight’s reflection to the water. If you find a turtle and you aren’t sure if they belong in the ocean, give your nearest wildlife rehabilitation or conservation organization a call for identification help. To report any issues or concerns with nests, nesting turtles, or hatchlings, please call SCCF’s Sea Turtle Hotline (978) 728-3663.

THIS WEEK AT CROW (7/8-7/15):
There were 197 new patients admitted to CROW’s Wildlife Hospital including 28 loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings, 18 eastern cottontails, ten common grackles, eight blue jays, 11 mottled ducks, five northern raccoons, and a diamondback terrapin. Recent Releases include 12 Loggerhead Sea turtle hatchlings, ten green sea turtle hatchlings, a Florida softshell turtle, and a great blue heron. 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.

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 If you find an animal that is in need of help, call (239) 472-3644 ext. #222.

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