Each turtle admitted to our hospital is given a name. The honor of choosing a sea turtle’s name is given to the folks that help us get the turtles rescued. They are allowed to choose any name they would like for the turtle as long as it is family friendly and not the name “Lucky”. We have a superstition about turtles named “lucky” not being lucky. This process of naming the turtles can result in some very interesting and unique names. Some turtles are named after their rescuers like Jordan, a juvenile sea turtle that never would have survived a tiger shark’s attack if his rescuer Jordan had not intervened. You should never get between a hungry shark and his dinner but Jordan, the man, was in the right place at the right time to save his namesake Jordan, the turtle.
Charlie turns out to be the most popular name chosen for the turtles as we have had seven admitted to the hospital. Naming turtles after where they were found is also a popular way of picking a name. This is how the names Kampong, Little Palm, Little Money, Coco and No Name came to be. Can you imagine how many times we introduced “No Name” and people asked “why doesn’t she get a name?” She has a name, “No Name”. Very confusing! We even had Worldwide, not referring to rapper Pitbull, but because he was found in front of a Worldwide Sportsman store.
We have also had a lot of turtles named after famous people, Obama, Chris Farley, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mr. T, Chuck Norris, Hugh Jackman, Dr. Fauci. How about your favorite cartoons or superheroes? Master Splinter, Yoshi, Koopa, Bowser, Squirt, Crush, Yertle and Mack, Hiccup, Hei Hei, Lilo and Stitch, Daredevil, Batman and Robin, Optimus Prime and Megatron, Popeye and Olive and, of course, all the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Leonardo, Michealangelo, Donatello and Rafael have received care at our hospital. And that list barely scratched the surface of fictional character names.
Some names get creative. Sea Low Green was named after musician Ceelo Green, we’ve had Cardi T instead of Cardi B, one of her songs happened to be playing during the rescue. The entire cast of Gilligan’s island has been here, in turtle form that is, and even all the Little Rascals. Two of our most unique turtle names came from from TV shows: Tondelaya della Ventimigilia (Big Bang Theory) and Smelly Cat (Friends).
Foods have also found their place in naming sea turtles. We’ve treated Taco and Taco 2, Waffles, Butter Bean, Gazpacho, Chicken Nugget, Guava and Twizzler. Hungry for more funny names? How about Coldy McMoldy, Flip Flop, Speed Bump, Shark Bait Rex, and our “spicy greens” all named after herbs and spices like Cream of Tarter, Wasabi, Saffron and Cinnamon. But no name has made us chuckle more than telling the story of Coral Bacon. Two sibling could not stop arguing over which name to choose. The sister was not budging on the name Coral and brother was not giving in on the name Bacon. So we picked both and Coral Bacon joined the list of unique turtle names!
Many sea turtles in need of help never would have received it had they not been reported us. We do not have the resources to go out ourselves looking for sick and injured sea turtles. We rely on people who live and vacation in the Florida Keys to come across the sea turtles that are in need of rescue and give us a call. These good samaritans are the first step in saving endangered sea turtles, we can’t help them if they don’t find them. A huge thank you to all our rescue families for being a part of something so important and providing the turtles with so many unique and memorable names. If you ever see a sea turtle in need of help, call our 24 hour stranding hotline 305 481 7669 or contact your local wildlife agency.
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