Massive ‘Cold-Stunned’ 350-Pound Loggerhead Turtle Washes Ashore on Cape Cod

by Jennifer Shea
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Conservationists in Truro, Massachusetts rescued a beached 350-pound loggerhead turtle that had become “cold-stunned” and failed to make it out of Cape Cod Bay into warmer waters. 

Sea turtle strandings are common in Cape Cod during the autumn, USA Today reports. When the temperatures fall in the bay, the turtles freeze and sometimes wash ashore.

Loggerhead An Unusual Find

It’s rare to find a turtle of this age and size, however. The turtle, an adult male, is estimated to be at least 30 years old. Most of the turtles that wash ashore in Cape Cod tend to be smaller and younger.

The Mass Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary posted a video on Nov. 20 of the rescue effort. Rescuers weren’t sure at first if the turtle was even alive, but then it moved its foot.

“A big sea turtle save on the beaches of Truro this afternoon!” the conservationists posted. “Thanks to the Truro DPW for loading this very large adult male loggerhead into their truck and bringing it to the sanctuary. The turtle is now on its way to the New England Aquarium!”

Stabilizing the Turtle

The turtle went to the aquarium’s sea turtle hospital in Quincy, according to MassLive.com. When he arrived at the aquarium, he was not breathing on his own and was responding “minimally.” Vets and biologists gave him replacement fluids and medication to help stabilize him.

Connie Merigo, the aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Department Manager, told MassLive.com that the turtle is in “guarded” condition and has multiple health problems.

This turtle outweighed the adult female loggerhead who turned up two years ago at Great Island in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. That turtle earned the nickname “Munchkin” from the aquarium staff taking care of her. The turtle had to go through rehabilitation at the New England Aquarium before being released back into the wild last year.

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