Sick Sea Turtle Checks Herself into Hospital

The loggerhead brings itself to the doorstep of a Florida rescue center.

A sick sea turtle navigated itself to just the right place, at the right time: the dock of Turtle Hospital, a nonprofit in the Florida Keys dedicated to helping sea turtles. The lucky turtle’s move – by chance or not – is already being hailed by the center as “by far the easiest rescue to date.”

Usually, the Coast Guard or fishermen help haul in patients, or they’re brought in from across the state or from other aquariums. But on March 29, the staff noticed an odd thing in their own harbor, a skinny turtle who had barnacles on her shell – a sign of illness. With two dinghies, they caught the 77-lb. loggerhead in less than an hour. The center is now treating the turtle they call Kincaid with antibiotics for a blood infection, a condition that can be cleared up in a few weeks.

The hospital has rescued 750 sea turtles since it opened in 1986. Ailments they’ve treated include viral tumors, damage to flippers from fishing lines and shells from boats, and the ingestion of plastic bags and balloons. Check out the Turtle Hospital’s web cam: You may be able to catch a glimpse of Kincaid’s recovery!

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