TOPSAIL BEACH, NC (WWAY) — The ever-changing temperatures continue to take their toll on sea turtles off the coast of North Carolina. Twelve green sea turtles have died already this winter because of the changing cold temperatures.
Jean Beasley with the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital says any change of temperature, hot or cold, greatly affects the turtles, because they are cold-blooded and their body temperatures are directly affected by their environment.
So far, the Sea Turtle Hospital in Topsail Beach has two new loggerhead residents because of cold shock this year. Both of the new turtles were found on the beach shocked by the change in temperature. The new turtles were gradually introduced into their new environment so that they didn’t experience more shock.
Beasley says it’s important for people to know they may see turtles who are cold shocked in the months to come. She says the turtles may look dead because they are in a coma-like state, but they are usually just stunned. She says when they are in that state, the turtles stay very still.
Beasley says she can not stress the importance of calling the sea turtle hospital immediately if you find a turtle. Most importantly, Beasley says if you do find a stunned sea turtle, do not keep it in a warm location. She says if the turtles are taken directly into a warmer area when they are experiencing cold shock, they will experience even more shock to their system.
If you come across a cold shocked sea turtle this winter, call the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital immediately at (910) 470-2800 or (910) 470-2880.