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(VIRGINIA BEACH, VA) As air and water temperatures drop for the winter, the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Program is preparing to respond to cold-stunned sea turtles.  We have already responded to eight strandings this season, but Virginia has seen up to ten rehabilitation admits in a single season. The patients currently being rehabilitated are:

  • "Nandua," a loggerhead sea turtle recovered on November 11 from the resort area in Virginia Beach;
  • "Birdneck," a loggerhead sea turtle recovered on November 13 from Buckroe Beach in Hampton;
  • "Trantwood," a loggerhead sea turtle recovered on November 15 from Chick's Beach;
  • "Creeds," a loggerhead sea turtle recovered on November 16 from Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge;
  • "Kellam," a loggerhead sea turtle recovered on November 17 from Little Creek in Norfolk;

Sea turtles exposed to water temperatures below 50 degrees can become lethargic and drift on top of the water or wash ashore, often mistakenly thought to be dead. These cold-stunned turtles are vulnerable to predators, accidental boat strikes, and even death due to prolonged exposure to extended periods of cold weather.

To prevent future losses of these endangered animals, the Stranding Response Team is asking all citizens to be watchful and to call the 24-hour hotline (757) 385-7575 if they see any sea turtle in the region, regardless of its apparent condition. Although citizens should avoid trying to handle or warm up such turtles, video and photographs can be critical for the health assessment.​

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