Sea Turtle Stranding Season Begins for the South Carolina Aquarium

April 23, 2024

Earth Month Brings Seven New Patients to the Aquarium

The South Carolina Aquarium has seen a significant uptick in admissions in the last couple of weeks, with seven sea turtle patients requiring medical attention in this short period of time.

“Our sea turtle stranding season has definitely started strong! These past two weeks have been a whirlwind, with seven sea turtles admitted in rapid succession and each needing individualized treatments and care,” says Sea Turtle Care Center™ manager Melissa Ranly. “It’s clear that sea turtles have arrived along the South Carolina coast and are facing some  unforgiving impacts out there. And it’s fitting this is all happening during Earth Month, a poignant reminder on the intrinsic link between water, wildlife and wild places and our role in the world, too. We’re ready and waiting to welcome more sea turtles into our care and offer them all the support we can, and grateful for the community backing us every step of the way.”

This year’s naming theme for sea turtle patients is breakfast foods, adding an appetizing touch of whimsy to their journey towards recovery. Hashbrown was the first patient, a juvenile green sea turtle that arrived “smothered and covered” in mud and epibiota, indicating s/he has been sick for quite some time. After Hashbrown’s intake, a full “breakfast buffet” of sick and injured sea turtles — four greens and two Kemp’s ridleys — arrived and are currently undergoing rehabilitation in the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Care Center™.

  • Biscuit, a juvenile green that washed ashore debilitated, underweight, dehydrated, covered in epibiota, with lesions on the neck and shoulders, a dislocated flipper and a damaged flipper.
  • Eleanor, a juvenile green that arrived with a hook in her/his flipper.
  • Strudel, a juvenile green that washed ashore severely lethargic and emaciated, with corneal ulcers in both eyes.
  • Frittata, a juvenile green that was stranded, covered in sand and epibiota and had a severe ear infection.
  • Poptart, a juvenile Kemp’s ridley that was caught on hook and line deep in the esophagus and needed surgery upon admit.
  • Pancake, a juvenile Kemp’s ridley that was also caught on hook and line in the flipper and had ingested plastic.

The Aquarium’s team of biologists, veterinarians and dedicated volunteers are working tirelessly to provide the necessary care to rehabilitate these sick and injured sea turtles. Guests can witness this rehabilitation in action during an Aquarium visit and come face to face with current sea turtle patients, read their stories and learn how to protect them. Each ticket and membership allows the Aquarium to continue this critical conservation work to save sea turtles.

Photo: From SC Aquarium Website