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Sea turtles struggling in cold

READ MORE: Sea turtles struggling in cold

TOPSAIL BEACH, NC (WWAY) -- Just as the cold has been affecting many of us this season, it's also effecting the turtle populations off the coast of North Carolina. The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center at Topsail Island has heaters and blankets for sea turtles that have been cold-stunned.

Sea turtles are marine reptiles. That means they are cold-blooded and have no way of regulating their own body temperature. In other words, they can't warm themselves up.

"It's probably a case of just reluctance plus inexperience that causes them to not go when the water temperature drops as suddenly as this," Sea Turtle Hospital volunteer Karen Sota said.

Sota has been volunteering for 12 years at the Sea Turtle Hospital. She said the hospital was ready for this year's cold stun because of the sudden drop in water temperatures.

"It was never a matter of if for us, because it happens every year," she said. "It was a matter of just when it was gonna hit us and how bad it was gonna be, and it's bad this year."

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is coordinating the rescue effort. All cold-stunned turtles are assessed at their center and then sent to various locations like aquariums. The ones in worse shape come to the Sea Turtle Hospital. So far, five have arrived.

Sota said she loves sea turtles and gives her time to care for them because they are a critical part of the ecosystem.

"No species should ever die out," Sota said. "We're not a race that should let a species go extinct."

Turtle experts say if you see a turtle who appears dead, immediately take it out of the environment that it's in and place it in a semi-heated area such as a garage or laundry room and immediately call Wildlife Emergency at (252) 241-7367. For more information on the Sea Turtle Hospital call (910) 328-3377 or visit

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this Global Warming is HORRID...OH...that's right...its a lie.


It's not as if this is some new phenomenon, it's nature after all. Perhaps there are some other species that are meant to benefit from eating turtles killed or stunned by the cold. What about them?

Actually, no, I'm not that cold hearted and would probably help a turtle too. But it's worth pointing out that we are very selective in our indignation when it comes to human activity and the environment.

Why not just let nature take

Why not just let nature take it's course and thin out the turtle population. The strong ones will survive. Even if they became extinct, like other species have over the centuries, I doubt if the world would end. Some of this money and effort could be better put to use to help humans in need.

Give it a break!

Every time there's a story on here about people helping animals, some sob sister chimes in about using the money to help humans instead.

First, the Turtle Hospital uses no taxpayer funding, that I know of. I belief it exists on contributions. In that light, the supporters WANT that money to go to saving turtles.

Second, people have the ability to logically think and reason. They can take care of themselves. Turtles can't. Their numbers were decimated by centuries of fishing practices that resulted in drowned turtles, so anything we can do to assist their recovery is warranted and proper.