Hypothermic, rare sea turtle rescued in Hull

An endangered, six-pound, Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle was rescued from a rocky inlet in Hull on Wednesday.

The animal was spotted by a passerby on the Boston Harbor side of the peninsula and was found on its back among the rocks. Its shell had some abrasions, which were likely caused by being tossed about by the swells of the strong seas.

Normally, stranded hypothermic sea turtles are found mostly on the Outer Cape–from Brestwer to Truro. However, in recent years, both live and dead sea turtles have been found in the late autumn and early winter from Plymouth to Hull.

The New England Aquarium encourages South Shore beach walkers to keep their eyes sharp for roundish objects covered by seaweed or other debris near the high tide line. If someone does find a sea turtle, please call the Aquarium’s stranding phone number at 617 973-5247.

This turtle came in with a temperature of 53 degrees, which is about the current ocean temperature. It is being rewarmed five degrees per day over the next few days until it’s in the mid-70s, a preferred body temperature for sea turtles.

Treatment is likely to include receiving IV fluids for dehydration and antibiotics and antifungals to fight off infections. There is a slightly less than 50-percent chance that it has pneumonia. Since it had some shell damage, x-rays will be taken to look for fractures.

This turtle’s prognosis is guarded, but nearly 80 percent of these live, cold-stunned sea turtles recover and are later released.

The Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle is the world’s most endangered sea turtle. Most of its population decline from the 1940s to the 1970s was due directly to human activities. It has been slowly recovering since the 1980s.

The person who found the turtle has declined to talk to the media.