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Thursday, January 28, 2016

January Cold Stunnings

The unusually warm weather in November, December and early January, turned very cold quickly leaving sea turtles stranded as the water temperature plunged quickly.  

What is cold Stunning?   Sea turtles that fail to migrate south to warmer waters in the fall develop hypothermia when they are exposed to water temperatures below 50 degrees for several days. This causes a chain reaction in which the turtle's organs and muscles shut down. Often this causes the turtle to float and wash ashore.  In January alone, more than a thousand turtles in North Carolina have been hurt by cold-stun. 
The stunned turtles grow sluggish, which can make it impossible for them to swim out to sea. From Jan. 16 to 20 near Duck on the Outer Banks, the ocean temperature dropped nearly 10 degrees to about 43 degrees, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Ripley's Aquarium in Myrtle Beach volunteered to help 8 juvenile Green Sea Turtles.  The eight green sea turtles were found washed up on the NC Beaches in the Pamlico Sound area around January 13th. These sea turtles are around the size of a dinner plate.  They needed a temporary home with nice warm water until the coastal waters warm up.
On January 21st, the North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle Patrol was asked to help transport the 8 turtles from Morehead City, NC to Myrtle Beach.  This transport involved a 3 car event, one car transported from Morehead City to North of Wilmington, NC, another car transported to Supply, NC where the NMB STP took over and transported the rest of the way to Myrtle Beach, SC.  The eight turtles were contained in large cardboard boxes, two to a box.  The turtles arrived at Ripley's offsite facility around 2:30 PM and were quickly evaluated by Ripley's Animal Husbandry staff and released in a large, warm tank.

Follow these turtles on Ripley's Facebook page:

Some pictures: Ripley's Aquarium, Myrtle Beach

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