Gumbo Limbo’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Facility gained experience handling cold stunned sea turtles this past winter, but they were not expecting a case at the end of summer.
On Tuesday morning (9/28) a juvenile green sea turtle was brought to Gumbo Limbo by City of Boca Raton Recreation Services staff. They had been working at Silver Palm Park Boat Ramp when a park visitor noticed an angler with a sea turtle. When questioned about the turtle, the fisherman fled the park. Park staff and the visitor then placed the turtle back into the water, but it remained motionless and floating at the surface. The turtle was then taken to Gumbo Limbo Nature Center for care.
The Marine Turtle Specialists at Gumbo Limbo quickly determined why the turtle was acting odd when returned to the water; it was ice cold! The turtle was so incredibly cold that water began to condense on its shell, just like a on a cold glass of lemonade on hot day. The turtle was kept overnight at the Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Facility and warmed up slowly. It quickly became active and ate when offered food. The following day, after blood work and a physical exam by Dr. Mettee, the turtle was approved for immediate release.
What could possibly make a sea turtle ice cold? It is thought that the turtle may have been captured by the fisherman, who then placed to the turtle in a cooler full of ice. Even though the turtle only spent one night at the Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Facility, it was still give a name, Igloo.
The fisherman has not been identified. If anyone has any information, please contact Gumbo Limbo or Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC). Gumbo Limbo Nature Center thanks the City employees and the park visitor who helped rescue this turtle.