Baltimore: The National Aquarium has had its work cut out for it in terms of animal rescue. Currently, the facility is caring for a dozen cold-stunned sea turtles. The majority of these patients suffered chronic injuries typically seen in rescue cases such as pneumonia, eye lesions, inflammation of the intestines, and joint lesions.
Back in November, a juvenile green sea turtle stranded along the coast of Delaware. The sea turtle, known as Hardhead, was rescued by The MERR Institute. He was then transferred to The National Aquarium to undergo long term rehabilitation.
Sea Turtles are ectothermic, which means their internal temperature varies according to their surrounding environment. This is more commonly known as being cold-blooded. Upon arrival to The National Aquarium, Hardhead’s internal temperature was read at a quite chilly 59 degrees Fahrenheit. Further, Hardhead was showing signs of severe external and internal trauma. He was found to have broken ribs and a tear in his lungs. While it can’t be known for certain, Hardhead’s traumatic injuries were likely caused by boat strike.
Hardhead’s injuries were very severe and he would not have survived without the medical intervention of veterinarians and animal care experts. The turtle could not swim or dive properly as the tear to his lung expelled air into his body cavity. This injury required proper time to heal. During this time, he was monitored closely and tong-fed several times per day. Approximately one month after rescue, Hardhead gave the care team a reason to celebrate as he began to swim and dive normally.
Hardhead is one lucky sea turtle to have been rescued by experts and we are thrilled to know that he’s feeling better. As of January, Hardhead’s respiratory issues have disappeared and his fractures are healing.