Cold-stunned turtles rescued, rehabilitated by NC Aquarium

PINE KNOLL SHORES, N.C. (WTVD) -- Winter cold again caused an influx of cold-stunned sea turtles needing treatment from the North Carolina Aquarium.

The aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores has taken in more than 60 turtles caught in cold waters, unable to swim.

Aquarium officials said they've helped greens, Kemp's ridleys and even some loggerheads.

"With the past few extra-cold nights, we have turtles going out for release and more still coming in for rehabilitation often on the same day," North Carolina Aquariums Chief Veterinarian Emily Christiansen said.

Sea turtles are cold-blooded, so a sudden drop in temperature can send them into a hypothermia-like state known as cold-stunning.

"They become lethargic, unable to swim, and can be pushed onto the shore by the tides and wind. If they can be rescued before they succumb to the cold, they have a chance to be rehabilitated," Christiansen aIS.

Any cold-blooded animal can be susceptible to sudden dips in temperatures. For example, recently iguanas in Florida fell out of trees when the temperature dropped drastically.

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For the turtles, they must be slowly warmed up to their optimal body temperature. Then veterinarians will give them a checkup, administer any necessary medications and treat any injuries.

Once the turtles are fully recovered, they can be released back into the wild.
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