Dozens of cold-stunned turtles were flown from the cold waters of Cape Cod down to the Florida Keys and brought to the Turtle Hospital in Marathon over Thanksgiving weekend.
The 40 rescued turtles were Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles, one of the most endangered sea turtle species. Unfortunately, these turtles wash up yearly along the New England coastline.
Once found, the turtles were swaddled in blankets and flown to the facility in the Keys where they’ll be nursed back to health.
LIVE at the Turtle Hospital 40 cold stunned Kemps Ridley sea turtles checked in last night and are warming up in the Florida Keys sunshine! 🐢❤️☀️ #ConnectAndProtect #compassioniscontagiousPosted by The Turtle Hospital on Sunday, November 29, 2020
Turtles tend to swim north away from the warm summer waters, but with our waters staying warmer longer into the fall months, the turtles are staying north and getting caught in the frigid waters.
When the waters cool, the turtles move into shallow water, but the turtles are ectothermic, meaning they can’t regulate their own body temperature. This makes the turtles weak and unable to leave the Cape Cod area, resulting in them washing ashore.
Being “cold stunned” can leave lasting impacts on the turtles and recovery can take anywhere from 30 days to a year.
So far, all 40 turtles have passed their swim tests, meaning they have no immediate threats to their health.