The cold-stunned green sea turtle brought near death to the South Carolina Aquarium on Wednesday is one plucky little reptile, it turns out.
Amelia lived through the night. A day after staff gradually brought up her body temperature, fed her liquids, vitamins and antibiotics, she went for a brief swim in a shallow water tank before lethargically settling on the bottom. She just might make it.
"It's still alive, which is a really, really good thing," said Kelly Thorvalson, sea turtle rescue program manager. But the turtle has suffered a great deal of tissue damage from the cold stun. Whether she makes it back to the wild "is a little better at 50 percent at this point. The veterinarian is quick to remind us, she is not out of the woods."
The turtle has been named for a Hilton Head creek near where she was found.
Cold stunning occurs when a sea turtle is essentially made hypothermic by a drop in water temperature too quick for the reptile to escape. It becomes lethargic and can die.
In winter, the turtles normally move offshore to the relatively warmer Gulf Stream waters to ride out the season. It's very rare for a sea turtle to become cold stunned in the state's waters.
The aquarium program treats and rehabilitates sick or injured sea turtles, trying to return as many as possible to the wild. All seven species of sea turtles are considered endangered.
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