Loggerhead (Caretta caretta)


Age Class Adult
Gender Female
Date Stranded June 13, 1999
Location of Stranding Holmes Beach, Anna Marie Island, Florida
Date of Arrival June 13, 1999
Number of Days of Care 414

Final Disposition

Sadie was released off Holmes Beach on 23 August 2000

Sadie was brought to our Hospital by Ms. Suzi Fox of the Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch. Sadie had come up on Holmes Beach to nest, had fallen off an embankment (groin), and had fractured her plastron. She had failed to nest on the beach and therefore was carrying eggs when she arrived. She was radiographed (x-rayed) and was kept in a small tank for a short time until it was decided to try to induce labor. She received injections of oxytocin over three days time and deposited about 75 eggs that were taken out to Holmes Beach and placed in an artificial nest. Unfortunately, none of the eggs hatched. For the plastron fracture, it was decided to apply stainless steel bone plates to the exterior of the plastron with bone screws. Dr. Rob Weeren, a veterinary orthopedic surgeon, volunteered to apply the plates which was done on 11 August 1999. After several modifications, the plates were finally removed on 14 January 2000 and replaced with bone screws and wires. These were finally removed on 5 May. At that point the fracture had healed by second intention forming a hinge joint which is the only way the plastron can be healed. The hinge joint allows for movement in the plastron when the turtle breathes. The screw holes filled over the next three months and Sadie was released on 23 August 2000.


1. Oxytocin did not work as well as anticipated to induce egg-laying. Should try AVT next time.
2. Large plastron fractures probably cannot be healed by first intention due to normal movement of plastron with respiration.
3. Although loggerhead turtles do not normally nest every year, this trait is probably regulated by food availability.
Bone adhesive
Fracture measurement
Plate attachment
Plates close up

Plate checkup

Plate removal
Removal close up
Ultrasound for egg presence
Sadie swimming
Sadie swimming 2

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