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  • Writer's pictureStar Sota

Sea Turtle Hospital News

It’s been busy at our hospital since our public tours temporarily ended in October. Patients in various stages of rehabilitation were all relocated to our Sick Bay area and although it’s a bit crowded it’s only for a few more weeks. The renovations on Sea Turtle Bay have been completed and it’s looking marvelous, better than new actually. The biggest changes that our visitors will notice is new lighting, better to show off those beautiful carapaces on our turtles, and a completely redone sand-colored floor. We’ve begun moving back all the tanks – more changes. Lennie will occupy the coveted corner spot where you’ll see her from different angles. And our big lady Snooki is moving to the railing right inside the door to Sea Turtle Bay. All of you who wanted Snooki pictures will now have your chance to see her up close. But be warned – she likes to draw attention to herself by splashing water with those ginormous flippers.

Speaking of Snooki, that move to her temporary home in the therapy pool went surprisingly well with everybody on site that day, about twenty of us, making it happen. The biggest factor in its success was that Snooki cooperated totally. After several minutes scoping out her new surroundings, learning new boundaries and being comforted by “her people” she settled down for a nap. Weeks later she has clearly laid claim to the pool as her own and now we’re wondering if she’s going to leave it without a fuss. She enjoys the activity in Sick Bay, peeking over the rim to watch the volunteers tend to her roommates. And when she’s not supervising the staff, she spends time under the waterfall created especially for her by our water guru, Tina. Snooki’s move back into Sea Turtle Bay is on hold while her tank is being refurbished. Hopefully being up close and personal with her adoring public will make her and our visitors happy.

We’re opening to the public soon on a contracted tour schedule. Dates: November 25 and 26 and December 4, 8, 14 and 17. Check our website www.seaturtlehospital.org for times as they vary. And we still require ticket purchases in advance on our site. Our gift shop is stocked with all kinds of merchandise for turtle lovers, and of course you can adopt one of our patients for those impossible-to-buy-for relatives and friends. You can shop during those days without taking the tour.

Although our island is relatively quiet these days turtles are still around and in need of your help. We recently admitted a juvenile loggerhead that required surgery after an unfortunate encounter with fishing gear. We rely increasingly on our locals, anglers and boaters to notify us about any turtle in distress. If you see a turtle that’s been injured or stranded call our Director of Beach Operations, Terry Meyer at: 910-470-2880. If she is not available, you may call the hospital during operating hours: 910-329-0222. We will take the information and send trained volunteers to retrieve the turtle. The State of NC hotline for stranded, sick and injured turtles is 252-241-7367. The state number picks up 24/7. All conservation work for endangered sea turtles at KBSTRRC and on Topsail Island is authorized by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, ES Permit 22ST05.


Snooki with her favorite things; a carapace scrub and her personal waterfall.

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