CLEARWATER, Fla. — When stunned sea turtles are rescued in the Tampa area they're taken to Clearwater Marine Aquarium and are immediately taken into the surgical suite where they are examined.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium has had more than 50 stunned sea turtles brought in since last Thursday.
Lauren Bell is a sea turtle biologist at Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
She said, "If it gets too cold it basically slows them down they float to the surface.They can’t swim as fast so they can’t escape predators. Its really detrimental to them. We triage them when they first get here. We do blood work on them, we’re going to do an initial assessment. We can give them any vitamins, antibiotics and fluids that they might need."
Bell says they normally get one to two turtles in a week, but Gulf temperatures dropping to the 50’s has caused the surge in stunned turtles.
Bell said, "Their range is normally in the 70’s or high 60’s, anything below that they start to slow down."
When too cold, the turtles slow down and float helplessly in the water. That's when they need experts to rescue them.
Once they recover at Clearwater Marine Aquarium they are put into to warm pools until the Gulf water warms back up.
Bell said, "They’re just hanging out and getting free food until we can release them back in to the ocean."