Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas)
Stranding Location: Charleston Harbor Shipping Channel, Charleston SC
Arrival Date: 1/17/20
Weight: 5.8 lbs (2.67 kg)
Cannon was pulled up in the hopper dredge that is currently dredging the Charleston Harbor Shipping Channel. According to the observers on board, Cannon made it through the first screen into the main hopper and was seen when he was stuck on the overflow screen of the hopper after the debris had been dumped. It was reported that Cannon was pulled up in very silty, muddy sediment from about 45-49 feet below. The crew onboard the dredge quickly transferred Cannon to shore for evaluation at the South Carolina Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Care Center.
Cannon was pretty banged up upon admit and from the chilly water and air temps during transport, he also had a low body temperature. He had what could be a fracture or two on his plastron, his eyes were mostly closed, and he had superficial wounds on other parts of his body. Staff drew blood, monitored vitals, examined the eyes, cleaned the wounds, took an X-ray and a CT scan, and administered fluids, vitamins, and antibiotics. According to the CT scan and x-rays, Cannon did not have any fractures nor did it look like he had any internal gas bubbles commonly associated with decompression sickness. Luckily, the locations on the plastron that looked to be fractured were just superficial wounds that we were able to treat topically. Cannon did have a large amount of mud, silt, and sand packed into his eyes which staff cleaned out and treated daily with eye drops. After receiving all of his medications, Cannon was given a final dose of pain medication and put in a water bed to rest while staff closely monitored him through the weekend.
January 21, 2020: Cannon was placed in a shallow tank of water yesterday and even ate a small piece of fish from tongs. We are unsure at this time how much Cannon is able to see as he has only eaten fish off tongs, and does not seem to show much interest in it from the bottom of his tank. However, he is fairly active and alert which is a good sign! We have decided to continue giving him eye drops whenever he is out for other injections and treatments. Fingers crossed that this little guy continues to heal!