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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Live Kemps Ridley--5th Ave S, NMB

Text from SC DNR came to the NMB Sea Turtle Patrol just after 10PM...nesting sea turtle on the beach, 5th Ave S in front of Windemere.   Rob and Linda quickly responded and found not a nesting loggerhead but a stranded juvenile kemps ridley......just barely alive, laying at the water line, being pushed up the beach with the incoming tide.

The little guy was quickly loaded into a car and the trip to the SC Sea Turtle Hospital began.  Traffic was bad, middle of the Black Biker Week, intersections closed....police at every corner, bikes all over the place, trip to Georgetown took longer than normal,  SC DNR was waiting to take the turtle the rest of the way to the Hospital.

The turtle made it through the night but is in extremely critical conditions, erratic heart beat,  intubated and staff at the hospital were breathing for it again this morning.  The turtle is getting a fluid drip to try regulate potassium in the blood (hoping to make the heart rate more regular).  Prognosis is not very good.

A huge thanks to the people who instead of just ignoring the turtle or putting it back in the water, called the authorities and stayed with the turtle until help arrived.   And a big thanks to Michelle from SC DNR for driving to Georgetown to transport the turtle into Charleston.   If we had to go all the way, it would have been after 4AM before we arrived back in NMB.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Stranding 47th Ave N-Cherry Grove

A little rare Kemps Ridley Sea Turtle was pulled from the surf early this morning.  NMB Sanitation was alerted and they quickly informed STP Volunteers Joe and Nancy who had just started their Wednesday walk.

Sadly, the turtle had died....No apparent injuries other than two shallow puncture wounds on it's carapace.

This little guy's carapace measure around 13 inches

A big thanks to NMB Sanitation for reporting this turtle.  And a huge thanks to NMB STP Volunteers for calling it in and then helping to process the turtle.  And a thank you to the unknown walker who pulled it out of the surf.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Loggerhead Stranding-MB State Park

Spense, while bottom fishing with a single J hook on the MB State Park Fishing Pier, snagged a loggerhead sea turtle.  Instead of just cutting the line, he tracked down MB State Park Ranger Ann and asked " What do I do if I hook a turtle? "  Ann and some experienced fisherman on the pier sprang into action, grabbed a drop net and brought the turtle up on to the pier.  Ann was able to quickly remove the hook, it was just superficially hooked on a front flipper.

After removing the hook and looking the turtle over, Ann felt the body condition of the turtle was poor, she was covered in little barnacles, both on carapace and on soft tissue of flipper and head.  Decision was made to transport to the SC Sea Turtle Hospital for further evaluation.

The North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle Patrol was called and asked to transport to the hospital in Charleston

The turtle was keep under the shade of the trees while waiting for the nMBSTP to arrive

Loading in car for transport

Loaded in an enclosed car to protect from sun and wind,
Turtle's carapace is about 25 inches

Arrival at the soon as the back door is open, this curious turtle stuck it's head out......"Where am I?"

Unloaded and weighed, about 53 pounds 

Towel is placed over it's head to calm it


Blood is drawn


Heart beat is measured

IV Lines are set up


Turtle is scanned for pit tags, none found

All initial work is complete

Initial blood work indicated turtle is anemic.   Something is causing this so good thing the turtle was brought to the hospital.  While not in critical condition, if left untreated in the ocean, it's condition could deteriorate rapidly and the turtle could either strand in critical condition or die...

Great work by all in helping this little 53 pound juvenile loggerhead sea turtle...From Spense who knew not to just cut the line, to all those on the pier who helped it and especially to Park Ranger Ann who knew something was wrong and this turtle needed additional help

More more information and future updates on this turtle go to the SC Aquarium web site and blog:

or go directly to the SC Sea Turtle Hospital Sea Turtle Rescue Program...updated frequently

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Live Stranding

Mid-Day, call comes in from Ocean Water Sports, 4th Ave S, Myrtle Beach.  "We just pulled a very tiny turtle out of the surf, it was rolling around in the waves"   This started things in motions and the tiny turtle was soon on the way to the Sea Turtle Hospital in Charleston.

Loaded in the car and ready to go

  A little endangered green sea turtle, it's capace measure just over 12 inches. The turtle was covered in small "White Barnacles" mostly on it's carapace which was unusual.  Generally when a turtle is very sick and emaciated, it's soft tissue such as head, neck and flippers are covered with small barnacles. So many barnacles were close to the edge of it's carapace that skin was erode away from the top of it's front flippers.  Must have been very painful for this turtle to swim with the sharp edges hitting the soft tissue of it's flipper.    This little  turtle looked even smaller because it was so thin, very emaciated.  Blood work also showed that it may have eaten something bad...maybe a sea urchin that could have started or at least contributed to it's problem.

At the Hospital...everyone gets involved, blood is drawn

Pictures are taken

Heart rate is checked, and rechecked......


Turtle is weighed and measured, just over 12 inches, around 7 pounds

Carapces is covered with small, white barnacles, but hardly
any on soft tissue of flipper and neck
Head and body is also covered in sand, this turtle had been rolling 
around in the surf

Turtle takes a deep breath of air

Poor thing....not feeling very well

May 9th..update from the Sea Turtle Hospital:

"May 6, 2015: A 7-pound green sea turtle was found on the beach in Myrtle Beach and is one of the most emaciated sea turtles we have ever admitted. We are thrilled the turtle is still with us, although s/he is not out of the woods yet. This animal is so weak, we can only put him/her in water an hour at a time. This turtle has not been named yet…"

Sunday, November 2, 2014

2014 Nesting Results

2014 Nesting Summary

Nests: 6
  In Situ: 2
  Relocated: 4 (66.6%)
  Inventoried: 6 (100%)
False Crawls: 4

Estimated Eggs to Date: 580
  Eggs Lost: 5 (0.8%)---taken for DNA Study
  Hatched Eggs: 313
  Emerged Hatchlings: 313
  Mean Incubation Duration (all): 60.5 days
  Mean Clutch Count: 102.5 eggs (Relocated Only)

Mean Hatch Success: 47.4%
Mean Emergence Success: 47.4%
Nest Success: 50%
Beach Success: 60%

DNA Results to date

NMB Nest #1---Only nest for this turtle, new to beach, new to data base

NMB Nest #2 and Nest #4---Laid by same mother, both nest non-viable, no                                               eggs hatched

Briarcliffe Nest #1, Briarcliffe Nest #2, NMB Nest #3---laid by same mother
                                           this mother also laid a late nest on the northern
                                           end of Myrtle Beach and may have laid NMB #6

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Inventories NMB Nest 4 and 5

NMB Nest #4 was laid at 8th Ave S.  The mother was seen coming ashore and quickly surrounded by curious by-standers.  Despite the ruckus, this mother was determined and stayed on the beach to nest.  She had been chased off the beach the night before about 5 blocks north of this location.  This short video was taken as she started to nest by some very interested College Kids who did not know not to shine lights or take flash pictures.  Once members of the NMB Sea Turtle Patrol arrive, all such activity was immediately stopped.


Because this nest was in a very busy, noisy and well lighted segment of the beach, the eggs were moved to 8th Ave N, a darker, quieter part of the beach.  On September 25, 58 days into incubation, a small group of tracks and a small depression was found.  The nest was inventoried four nights other tracks were ever seen.  Inventory results were disappointing.   Out of 115 eggs, only two hatched shells were found.....113 whole eggs or unhatched shells were found, all died in early development.  Runny yellow yolk.  DNA results showed that the mother of this nest was the same mother of Nest #2 which proved to be a non-viable nest as well.     

NMB Nest #5 was laid at 18th Ave N, this turtle was seen on the beach around 6:15AM as she finished up the nesting process.  She was watched and protected as she crawled back into the ocean.   

The nest was in a quiet, dark section of the beach but located below the Spring HTL so moved directly back to the dunes.  73 eggs less 1 egg taken for DNA.  One egg was slight deformed, with a tiny spacer egg attached to it.

As the days went by and as DNA results came in, indicating one mother was having problems, concern grow over this nest.  The nest was laid about 13 days after nest #4, a non-viable nest.   Same Mother???  Very likely.   DNA has not come back yet on this late nest, but no hatchling activity was ever seen as the nest reached maturity.  Finally at day 75 of incubation, the egg cavity was dug up and our fears confirmed.  No eggs had hatched, 72 eggs laying exactly as we had placed them, a little yellow, a little more depressed but none had hatched.  Each egg was opened, each egg had failed to develop, each had runny, yellow yolk....another non-viable nest........

Only bird and ghost crab tracks around the egg cavity

Corrina starts to dig into the egg chamber

Soon whole eggs are pulled out

Hole is empty

Counting the eggs

Holt takes a whole egg around to show the spectators

Yellow yolk found in the whole eggs

Wished and hoped for better results, but this is raw nature.  

Thank you Rachelle for your pictures

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