Hospital patches up wounded turtles in the Florida Keys

The Turtle Hospital does some pretty phenomenal work rehabilitating sick and injured sea turtles and returning them to the Florida Keys.

Right now, the Marathon, Fla. non-profit is caring for Sarenada. The Loggerhead arrived covered with barnacles and about of stomach woes. The group worked to remove more than 100 barnacles – and 8 pounds of weight – from the turtle, which was no easy feat.

“They are gently pried off with screwdrivers and paint scrapers,” the group noted on Facebook. “They usually pop off pretty easily. We also put the turtle in fresh water which helps loosen them.”


Sarenada, who is the sickest turtle currently being treated at the clinic, is also being assessed for a blockage in his gut. But officials remain optimistic he’ll get back home.

“The chances are good, but nothing is 100%. He has a long road to recovery, we’ll give him everything we possibly can and hope for the best.”

Here’s the incredible before and after image:


Meanwhile, the Turtle Hospital is planning another release this Saturday. Its turtle ambulance will bring Dorothy, a 110 pound Loggerhead, who was brought to the hospital last July when she was discovered unable to dive.


“Dorothy the sea turtle was treated for infection, high glucose, and an impaction. Dorothy’s treatment at the Turtle Hospital included broad spectrum antibiotics, lactulose, beano, insulin, vitamins, and a healthy diet,” the group said, adding. “Dorothy is back to good health and ready to return to her ocean home! Come help us cheer her on!”


Last year, the group took in more than 60 turtles and returned another couple dozen to the sea. But not every patient makes it back into the wild.

Take Bender, for example. She was rescued in 2005 with an injured flipper and covered in barnacles, which suggested she had been floating for quite some time. The Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle had poor blood chemistry. She was, in short, pretty rough shape. This is her then:


“Her front left flipper was so badly entangled in fishing line that it had to be amputated and a boat strike left her with a buoyancy problem,” the group explained in Facebook post this week commemorating her 10th anniversary at the hospital. “For these reasons Bender was deemed non-releasable since she would not be able to survive in the wild.”

This is Bender now, fitted with 700 grams of weight on the left side of her shell to allow her to dive and swim.


This is Bender diving just fine to the bottom of the tidal pool and swimming just swimmingly with only one front flipper.


If you want to see more turtles in action, check out the group’s YouTube channel and perhaps consider donating to the cause.

Photos The Turtle Hospital/Facebook

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Recovering newspaper reporter.

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