Easter, a cold stun, gets treatment at the sea turtle hospital

Nothing, including Covid-19, stopped the Easter Bunny from making his rounds this year. And he even had a little gift for us - “Easter.”

Just when we were hoping that we had “flattened the cold stun curve” the weather throws in a few frosty nights and the tides wash in those pitiful critters who just don’t have another ounce of strength in their little bodies. Honestly, we’re always hopeful but never surprised to see another wave of cold stuns because we’ve been in this business too long to think otherwise. We know that they’re still out there.

So “Easter.” He’s a little green found stranded on Holden Beach the evening before Easter Sunday. He weighed in at just over 3 kilos but some of that weight is big, honking barnacles. These things are huge, ugly and very much alive. But the worst part, other than the horrid smell, is the way they’ve managed to imbed themselves into and under the scutes of this little guy. Easter is being handled exceptionally carefully, especially during bath time. If we happen to snag one of these things we might end up de-scuting a large portion of his rear carapace down to the bone and obviously that’s not a good thing.

On the bright side, Easter is a first-class eater, and that’s one of the keys to his recovery. And thankfully he’s not a picky patient who needs their breakfast prepared and served in a particular way (I’m talking about you, Honey Bee, bless your heart!) He’s on our standard cold stun protocol of fluids, antibiotics and as much food as he wants to hopefully prevent a common problem like pneumonia.

Easter is a perfect example of why we need to remind everybody that sick turtles are still out there and will continue to strand on our beaches and inland waterways even as the weather finally warms up.

Please continue to be on the lookout for these critters and remember that just because a turtle is not moving it doesn’t necessarily mean it is dead. It might just be a cold stunned victim too weak to do anything other than blink. You may be tempted to warm it up but don’t - a quick temperature change could send it into shock. We’ll send our staff out to rescue any and all turtles, big and small when you give us the word. Call one of the following numbers if you suspect you’ve come across a local cold-stunned turtle: Hospital contacts are Terry Meyer @ 910-470-2880 and Jean Beasley @ 910-470-2800 . We will also pick up on the hospital line ( 910-329-0222 ) if the call comes into us during normal hospital hours. The state of NC has a stranding hotline that picks up 24/7: 252-241-7367

Obviously we are closed to the public, with no specific opening date. Thanks to all of you who continue to support our hospital and our turtles. Flipper hugs, and we’ll see you on the other side, whenever that is.

Updates from the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center are provided by sea turtle hospital volunteer Karen Sota.