SCCF Responds to Five Sea Turtle Strandings
SCCF staff has recently responded to five sea turtle strandings, three of which were for live turtles. Live strandings are an infrequent occasion on Sanibel but we do report a few each year. The first live stranding was on Jan. 30 during a bout of exceptionally cold weather. The beached loggerhead (Caretta caretta) sea turtle appeared to be deceased but on further inspection was in fact alive, only cold stunned. Cold stunning can occur when water temps drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. A sea turtle can typically recover quickly when subjected to temperatures this cool but can become incapacitated with prolonged periods of exposure. The turtle was taken to the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) to mend. A second turtle discovered on Feb. 1 was reported to SCCF by a local eco-tour captain. The subadult green (Chelonia mydas) sea turtle was having difficulty swimming and appeared be struggling. This turtle was small enough to be transported in the back seat of SCCF’s Toyota Tacoma and is also recovering at CROW. The third live stranding was also a subadult green sea turtle and was reported on Feb. 6. This animal was found unable to properly swim in an area of high boat traffic and was brought to a dock on Captiva by a concerned boater. SCCF was able to take the animal to CROW where it is receiving treatment. All these strandings were called into SCCF’s Sea Turtle Hotline, which allowed SCCF staff to rapidly respond to the situations. If you encounter a stranded sea turtle, please call the SCCF Sea Turtle Hotline at (978) 728-3663.