The Turtle Hospital. Rescue, Rehab, Release.

A Chilly Winter

With recent air temperatures plummeting into the mid 40’s Turtle Hospital staff is preparing for what could be another very cold winter.

Last January, during the coldest recorded temperatures in Florida Keys history, 187 sea turtles stranded in the Florida Keys suffering from hypothermia. As reptiles, sea turtles can not regulate their body temperatures and do not tolerate water temps below 60 degrees for an extended period of time. Currently water temps in the bay have reached a chilly 62 degrees F, but staff has been able to keep patients warm by placing heat lamps and tarps over patients tanks.

If another stranding event occurs The Turtle Hospital can prepare the two 36,000gl tanks used mainly for emergencies like hurricane evacuations. After last years cold temperatures a large heater was placed on the tanks where the water temperature can be better regulated.

So far states like North Carolina and South Carolina have received over 100 cold stunned sea turtles. However in the northeast these states typically receive cold stunned sea turtles each winter. Cold Stunned sea turtles have even been spotted as far North as Boston. Last year was the first year in The Turtle Hospital’s history that sea turtles were admitted due to cold weather. So far no sea turtles have been admitted to The Turtle Hospital due to cold stun.

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