Sea turtles outlived their contemporaries, the dinosaurs, but they need our help against modern threats. Sea Turtles: Ancient Survivors, explains the traits that helped sea turtles triumph in the past, the trials they face today from hunters, loss of nesting beaches and from run-ins with fishing gear—and the things you can do to help. You can also learn about Mote's Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program here, as well as our special Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital, where we help treat sick turtles so they can go home again to the wild. Daily presentations are made at 3 p.m.

Hang Tough

Fittingly, Ancient Survivors features Hang Tough, a blind green turtle that came to Mote's Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital in 1992 with severe head injuries that injured both optical nerves. We helped Hang Tough recover, but because he is blind, he cannot survive in the wild. Mote is honored to provide this ancient survivor with a life-long home, where he is thriving because of the many hours Mote animal care experts have spent helping him learn to navigate his habitat.

Shelley and Montego

These adult female loggerhead sea turtles were born in North Carolina in 1977. They were raised in human care and participated in growth and mating studies. When those studies ended, Shelley and Montego (who were named in an essay contest for school children) came to Mote to help educate the public about sea turtles.


This green turtle arrived at Mote’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital in 2007 after being found in the Banana River with head and shell wounds. Harry had been hit by a boat. We were able to help Harry recover from many of his wounds, but could not repair the vision loss caused by the head injury. Today, Harry lives with manatees Hugh and Buffett.

Squirt 2

Squirt 2 was found floating in the Peace River in Punta Gorda, Florida, on April 29, 2015. Squirt 2 was struck by a boat propeller and had long-standing wounds that were healing when the turtle arrived at Mote. These wounds have caused permanent damage, making Squirt 2 unable to eat appropriate prey, especially crabs that are important in a Kemp’s ridley turtle’s diet. For this reason, wildlife officials deemed the turtle non-releasable, allowing Mote to display Squirt 2 and provide excellent long-term care. This turtle is Mote’s second “Squirt”; the first was successfully rehabilitated and released.

Hatchling Hospital

Sea turtles nest on Gulf of Mexico beaches from May through October. Sometimes the hatchlings emerging from these nests need a little extra help — that's where the Hatchling Hospital comes in. Hatchlings that may need a few days to weeks of medical care are treated in this special hospital and then returned to the wild when they are healthy — giving wild populations a boost.

Sea Turtles: Ancient Survivors was made possible by a generous donation from Mote Volunteer Penelope Kingman in honor of her husband, Barry J. Kingman, who was also a Mote Volunteer, and through a grant from the Sea Turtle Grants Program, which is funded from proceeds from the sale of the Florida Sea Turtle License Plate. Get your Florida Sea Turtle License Plate online at


Sea Turtles: Ancient Survivors was funded in-part by a grant awarded from the Sea Turtle Grants Program. The Sea Turtle Grants Program is funded by proceeds from the sale of the Florida Sea Turtle License Plate. Learn more at