Sea turtle stranding season is upon us for the South Carolina Aquarium

Earth Month brings seven new patients to the aquarium

The South Carolina Aquarium has seen a significant increase in visitors in recent weeks. During this short period of time, seven sea turtle patients required medical attention.

“Our sea turtle stranding season is definitely off to a good start! The last two weeks have been a whirlwind as seven sea turtles were taken in in quick succession, each requiring individual treatment and care,” said Melissa Ranly, manager of the Sea Turtle Care Center™. “It is clear that sea turtles have arrived on the coast of South Carolina and are facing some unforgiving impacts out there. And it's fitting that this all happens during Earth Month, a poignant reminder of the intimate connection between water, wildlife and wild places, and also of our role in the world. We stand ready and waiting to welcome more sea turtles into our care and offer them all the support we can, and are grateful for the community that supports us every step of the way.”

This year's naming theme for sea turtle patients is breakfast foods that add an appetizing touch of whimsy to their journey to recovery. Hashbrown was the first patient, a young green sea turtle that arrived “smothered and covered” in mud and epibiota, suggesting it had been sick for some time. After taking Hashbrown, a full “breakfast buffet” of sick and injured sea turtles arrived – four green and two Kemp's ridley sea turtles – and are currently being rehabilitated at the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Care Center™.

• Biscuit, a juvenile greenling, washed ashore weakened, underweight, dehydrated, covered in epibiota, with lesions on the neck and shoulders, a dislocated fin, and a damaged fin.

• Eleanor, a young green who arrived with a hook in her fin.

• Strudel, a juvenile greenie who was washed ashore severely lethargic and emaciated, with corneal ulcers in both eyes.

• Frittata, a juvenile fish that was stranded, covered in sand and epibiota, and had a severe ear infection.

• Poptart, a juvenile Kemp's Ridley, who became lodged deep in the esophagus and required surgery upon admission.

• Pancake, a juvenile Kemp's Ridley, also caught on hook and line in the fin and swallowing plastic.

The Aquarium's team of biologists, veterinarians and dedicated volunteers work tirelessly to provide the care necessary to rehabilitate these sick and injured sea turtles. When visiting the aquarium, guests can witness this rehabilitation in action and meet current sea turtle patients in person, read their stories and learn how to protect them. Every ticket and membership allows the aquarium to continue this important conservation work to save sea turtles.

For more information, visit

Photos and videos can be found here.

For all media inquiries, contact Susan McLaughlin at (843) 579-8660 or [email protected]

About the South Carolina Aquarium: The South Carolina Aquarium, Charleston's #1 family attraction, is home to more than 5,000 animals, from river otters and sharks to sea turtles and shorebirds, and represents our state's rich biodiversity – from the mountains to to the sea. Visitors can also get a glimpse of the Sea Turtle Care Center™, a working hospital dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of sick and injured sea turtles. While the Aquarium fulfills its mission to promote education, conservation and an exceptional visitor experience, it also offers breathtaking views of Charleston Harbor and interactive exhibits and programs for visitors of all ages.

The South Carolina Aquarium is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The aquarium is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with last entry at 3:30 p.m. The aquarium is open seven days a week, except Thanksgiving Day, December 25th, and one day and a half on December 24th (open 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.). Midday). Annual Aquarium membership with unlimited visits starts at $99. For more information, call (843) 577-FISH (3474) or visit

All sea turtle conservation work is authorized by SC Department of Natural Resources Sea Turtle Permit No. 2024-0004.

Anna Harden

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