Turtle X: Bernie

Green (Chelonia mydas)


Age Class Juvenile
Gender Unknown
Date Stranded March 26, 2001
Location of Stranding Charlotte Harbor, FL
Date of Arrival March 26, 2001
Number of Days of Care 249

Final Disposition

Released into Gullivan Bay, off Marco Island, Florida
This turtle arrived covered in algae, mud, and barnacles and had obviously not been well for a while. The turtle had numerous injuries to the carapace, plastron, and both left flippers (front and rear). The lesions would indicate a mechanical damage. The prognosis is not good but we will make an attempt to save the life of the turtle. It is possible that, if the turtle survives, the left rear flipper may have to be amputated. 3/31 This turtle has some very severe problems. Its white count is virtually zero and we are trying a new medication that is used in human chemotherapy patients to stimulate white cell production (never been tried in turtles as far as I know). Antibiotics seem to be keeping infection under control. Turtle has begun to eat fairly well, much to our surprise. Will plan to do some orthopedic repair to its carapace in the next few days. 4/5 Turtle is still eating well. Will try to wire the carapace fracture tomorrow. 4/9 We removed some of the bone from the carapace and placed stainless steel wire in the carapace to stabilize it. We did not amputate the left rear flipper as we are still trying to save it, but it may have to be amputated if no improvement is noted soon. Otherwise, turtle is still eating very well. 4/19 Turtle is continuing to do fairly well. Wounds are beginning to heal. 5/1 The experimental drug has been discontinued and the turtle's white count is holding. Wounds are all healing well. A portion of the carapace is going to have to be removed in the near future and we will fiberglass over the area. Turtles appetite is very good. 5/15 We removed the portion of the carapace and found an area of infection below so we left it open. It is now healing very well as are all of the turtles wounds. Appetite is very good. 5/23 Wounds continue to heal well. Turtle is gaining so much weight that his diet had to be restricted. Overall, doing very well. 5/31 Appetite continues to be very good. All wounds except foreflipper are healing well. Radiographs yesterday revealed osteomyolitis in left foreflipper. Plan to debride the area today and add a new antibiotic. 6/20 Wounds continue to heal well and appetite is good. 7/11 This turtle continues to do very well. 9/11 Turtle continues to heal and gain weight. There is a non-union fracture in the left foreflipper that may or may not require surgery. 11/2 Turtle is doing very well and is using left foreflipper with no problem. Will not have to have surgery and we are hoping to release this turtle this month. 11/19 Turtle has now been cleared for release. Released is tentatively scheduled for next week. 11/30 Turtle X was released today in Gullivan Bay off Marco Island, Florida. See photo below. Lessons: These turtles are very "tough" and can survive injuries that would seem unsurvivable. It was also determined from this turtle that Neupogen will work in reptiles to stimulate granulocyte production.

Appearance on arrival

Carapace wound

Turtle X, ready for release

@motemarinelab #motemarinelab