Sea turtles can get cold too! Because sea turtles are reptiles, they get their body temperature from the water temperature. Which is why sea turtles prefer warmer climates, like the Florida Keys! During the summer, some of the turtles will hang out near New England enjoying the warmer water and eating lots of small crabs and lobsters. But once the temperatures turn cold, they try to travel south to warmer climes. However they sometimes run into Cape Cod and get stuck. When the temperatures get too cold, they get “cold stunned,” meaning that their bodies try to conserve energy and start to shut down non-essentials. Some will also end up with pneumonia and other infections, as well as abrasions and other wounds.
Volunteers will look for these cold stunned turtles on the beach and transport them to the New England Aquarium. Once they determine that they are stabilized and ready for transport, they get shipped south. They do not fly commercial, they get volunteer pilots from “Turtles Fly Too!”
On Tuesday 12/11, 32 juvenile Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles were flown in stages from Boston, MA to Marathon, FL. Once they arrived to The Turtle Hospital, we conducted their intake. Including temperature, weight, pictures, blood work, x-rays, physical exam, and swim test.
Once they are all determined to be completely healthy and ready to be released, they will take a little trip a bit north in Florida and be released offshore.
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