Kemp’s Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii)
Stranding Location: Myrtle Beach State Park, South Carolina
Arrival Date: 6/18/2021
Weight: 2.48 kg (5.5 lbs)
Opal was caught by a fisher on the Myrtle Beach State Park fishing pier late in the evening on June 17, 2021. The fisher called the park ranger to assess the situation, and they were able to remove a superficially located hook that was in the left corner of the turtle’s mouth/cheek. As they went to put the turtle back in the water, they noticed that some of the fishing leader was still in the turtle’s mouth. They realized there was another hook deeper in the throat, so they contacted the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) to come pick up the Kemp’s for transport. Since it was so late at night and the turtle was not in critical condition, they taped the line to the turtle’s shell and kept him in a foam padded bin until the next morning when Linda Mataya and Cami Duquet, volunteer and staff permit holders for SCDNR, could bring the patient to the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Care Center™ for evaluation.
When Opal arrived, Dr. Lauren did a physical exam and x-ray to assess the exact location of the hook. The hook was in the patient’s mouth but wasn’t too deep, which made for a much easier hook removal. Blood was drawn and the in-house results were unremarkable. However, the results did indicate dehydration. Fluids, vitamins and antibiotics were also administered. Overall, Opal was stable so the vet team began the hook removal procedure. Opal was sedated and Dr. Lauren was able to remove the hook in about 20 minutes. After Opal recovered from the sedation, she was placed in a shallow water tank and monitored closely. She was still a bit uncoordinated and disoriented from the sedation, so she was left to rest comfortably in a wet dock overnight.