The Turtle Hospital. Rescue, Rehab, Release.

The Rehabilitation Enclosure

The Turtle Hospital is very fortunate to have a large Rehabilitation Facility.  The chain link enclosure is covered with a shaded cloth for the comfort of the turtles, the employees and our guests. Inside are 23 individual tanks, ranging in size from 150-800 gallons, in addition to the largest tank of all; the 100,000 gallon salt water pool.


The enclosure is separated into two sections, each containing individual tanks for sea turtles that require intensive care. The top section of the enclosure houses patients receiving treatment for any problem other than the fibropapilloma virus (such as a boat hit, entanglement, intestinal blockage, etc.).


The second section of the enclosure begins with individual tanks reserved for turtles afflicted by the fibropapilloma virus (FP). Turtle Hospital is currently collecting data and funding research to better understand how turtles come to be affected by FP. By keeping turtles with FP separated from those without, we can ensure that there will be no contamination.


Heading down the path, we turn left to find several small tanks, including five rectangle tanks covered in mesh netting reserved for hatchlings. The facility receives around 100 hatchlings or more during summer months to be treated here, safe from predators.


Last but not least is the 100,000 gallon salt water pool, formerly the swimming pool for motel guests. Today, the tidal pool houses sea turtles that are permanently disabled. These turtles permanently float due to boat hits (‘bubble-butt syndrome’), are missing too many flippers, etc., and would have a very poor chance of survival in the wild. A few will remain at the hospital for the remainder of their lives while others will be adopted to zoos or aquariums around the globe.


Away from the water on more elevated ground, another enclosure contains two 30,000 gallon tanks reserved for hurricane emergency. These tanks can also provide physical therapy for current patients, to test their swimming abilities in deeper water.