Good news

August 31, 2006

The storm was really nothing at all – we have worse thunderstorms on any given day in the summer! That’s good because it means no damage and no loss of power so we are back to normal here today.

Joy has been ignoring a lobster in her tank for weeks now even though we stopped feeding her “easy” food. Finally today we chased the lobster around the tank which seemed to stimulate Joy to go after it. Once she got a hold of it, the lobster did not stand a chance. Joy ate aggressively which is a good indicator that her weak jaw problems seem to have resolved. Some final blood tests, a check up by the vet, some flipper tags and she will probably be out of here in the next couple of weeks.

The time for Joy’s rehab was longer than most of the turtles we get – about 9 months. But that was not unexpected. The last turtle we had with a similar condition to Joy was Vito (a 200 pound adult male loggerhead). In his case we had to surgically place a feeding tube in his neck because we could not open his paralyzed jaw to feed him (well, that and it is not easy to haul a 200 pounder out of the tank and put a tube down his throat several times a week!) We used that tube to feed Vito the same highly nutritious pet food that Miracle is getting. Eventually he regained the use of his jaw and was released just over 9 months after we got him.

Vito with his esophagostomy (feeding tube in his esophagus)

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Sparrow = Franklin Jr.

August 14, 2006

For those of you who remember Franklin, you will remember that he was an exuberant sub-adult loggerhead that verged on vicious. Getting him out of the tank was always an adventure – mind that beak!

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Franklin a.k.a “The Mangler”

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Well, Sparrow is a bit like “Son of Franklin”. This turtle is still having a really bad attitude about getting injections. If you are wielding the syringe you have to keep track of your hands and that beak because Sparrow is taking the role of dinosaur very seriously (nobody told him that he is not a man-eating dinosaur). Sometimes we are happier than others to see a turtle go – Sparrow’s release will be one of the happy happy ones.

For those of you with iron stomachs and insatiable curiosity (an impaired sense of smell helps too) we are planning to necropsy Lola Wednesday in the vicinity of noon. If you are in the area, please feel free to come on by.

Special thanks to our volunteer Larry who brought in some beautiful Florida lobsters. Joy says thanks! On a good note, she has devoured one live lobster and is increasingly aggressive with the dead ones. Her jaw is improving steadily.


General update

August 9, 2006

Fiona is fat and happy – her wound is healing very nicely. Did we mention that she is fat? F.A.T. 🙂 The scar tissue is filling in and starting to get hard and thick in places. However, some areas are still quite soft and because those areas are immediately above her lung we have to wait until they are sufficiently thick to protect her before she is released. The tissue is starting to develop some pigment which corresponds to the patterns on her scutes – changing from pink to dark grey.

Joy is, well, fat and happy. Just a matter of time for her as well. Sometime in the next few weeks we would like to try some more whole lobster on her to gauge how her jaw strength is improving. It is lobster season here in south Florida so if any of you divers have a couple of lobsters to spare Joy would appreciate it.

Belize and Jonah continue to grow. We are still waiting for Belize to be able to dive consistently before we can comfortably release him.

Miracle is still hanging in there. Getting some supervised pool time. We are hoping that the soft tissue damage will resolve without leaving permanent neurological damage – more “wait and see”.

Hugo will go very soon – maybe next week.  Sparrow continues to recover well – that is one mad turtle that wants out of here now. Sparrow will likely get released about 2 minutes after the stitches come out!

Tomorrow we have a new patient coming from the St. Lucie power plant. Anemic, emaciated sub-adult loggerhead – or “the usual”. This is certainly the most common type of turtle we get at the center. The greens – especially the big ones – have been a refreshing change.


More updates

July 7, 2006

It’s time to talk about some of our other turtles here. Joy is steadily improving in the use of her jaw. She has been on a diet of lobster tails for a while now as a form of physical therapy. Today she got a whole lobster as a test – she did better than she has in the past but she still is not quite ready to be released. We need to feel confident that she could catch live lobsters on her own and she’s not quite there yet. She’s been here for a little over 6 months now and she’s going to be here a while longer.

Elphie is another turtle who is doing well. The infection in the bone seems to have been stopped. She is using the flipper quite well when she swims. We hope to confirm that the infection is completely gone with a bone scan. After that she will be cleared for release. Another fat and happy turtle to go!

This will be the last post for a week or so – vacation beckons. Check back in after the 17th… (unless I sneak one in before that, say, midweek or so).