By Karen Sota
In case you haven’t already heard, we’re open again for tours! Our first two weeks were a great start to the year with people wearing big grins eager to see our patients, and to visit our renovated gift shop. We’ve never opened this early in the year before and weren’t sure if anybody would come. Turns out we had nothing to worry about.
During March we are open on Fridays and Saturdays from 11 AM – 1 PM. We’ll add another day beginning in April. You must purchase your tickets in advance through the Visit page here our website: www.seaturtlehospital.org. Select the date, time and the number of guests in your party and purchase your tickets. We limit the number of guests for each time to make the experience more enjoyable and to continue our commitment to keep you and our staff safe as we work our way through Covid. All of our southeastern NC counties are not yet in the green for transmission and we are requiring masks for everyone except children under 5 years of age – no exceptions. And just a reminder that you can come to the gift shop without going on the tour. Enter through the single door to the left of the main entrance.
Last time I mentioned that two of our patients, greens Belle and Rosemary had moved into a duplex tank and were getting along “swimmingly” as neighbors. And that we also suspected that Belle’s little turtle brain was cooking up some plan to supplement her daily ration of veggies. You have to understand that Belle is on the high end of the body condition scale where 1 is teensy and 5 is well, definitely not teensy. Dr. Harms has put her at a 4.5 out of the goodness of his heart. But in all honesty she’s a big old 5. Apparently you can gain weight on veggies even without the blue cheese dressing.
We’re not sure how she did it but she managed to grab Rosemary’s veggie feeder and drag it under the divider so she could have it all for herself. But in her haste she forgot that she had left a flipper sticking out on Rosemary’s side of the tank. Rosie took advantage of Belle’s focus on the cucumbers and kept biting on that flipper in retaliation. You go, girl. Despite Belle’s swindle, they remain friends and enjoy long swims together in the therapy pool – for now.
Seems Mother Nature is not totally done throwing in bouts of wintry weather just to keep us out of shorts and flip-flops. One day it’s 80 and two days later it’s in the 40’s. There are most likely still debilitated turtles out there that might be stranding in the next few weeks. Please continue to be on the lookout for any turtle in distress. Don’t assume a turtle is beyond help because it can’t move. They may be just stunned to the point of not being able to move, even unable to
close their eyes. If you spot anything unusual, please call our Director of Beach Operations, Terry Meyer at: 910-470-2880. If she is not available, you may call the hospital during operating hours: 910-329-0222. We will take the information and we will meet you to retrieve the turtle that will then be brought to us for follow-up. The State of NC hotline for stranded, sick, and injured turtles is 252-241-7367. The state number picks up 24/7. Please note that all our work with sea turtles, at the hospital and on the beach, is authorized by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, ES Permit 22ST05.