On March 18, Gulf World Marine Institute (GWMI) received word of a green sea turtle in trouble. The animal was washing onto shore, and didn’t seem to be able to swim to deeper water. A combined effort between FWC staff, local law enforcement, and GWMI volunteers brought the turtle safely to rehabilitation.
Once brought to GWMI, Grimes received his first health assessment. This included bloodwork and checking his heart rate and temperature. Typically, turtles would also receive radiographs (X-ray images). Because Grimes’s carapace (top shell) is covered in barnacles, the X-ray images are going to be taken later. This high amount of “epibiota” (barnacles, algae, etc. that live on sea turtle bodies), indicate Grimes was likely ill. To help fight infection, Grimes is currently on antibiotics and supplements.
Another treatment for Grimes’ condition is a freshwater bath. While sea turtles can be in freshwater for short periods of time, the barnacles and algae growing on Grimes’ body can not survive the low salinity. The goal is for the freshwater to help remove the epibiota coverage. Once they are removed, the wounds underneath will be accessible and treatable. Thankfully, despite his initial state, Grimes has a good appetite, and has slowly been showing increasing levels of activity.