Sea Turtle Rescued After Being Stunned By The Cold!

Cold weather may be welcomed during the holidays to give us that festive feel, however our native wildlife doesn’t always cope well with a sudden drop in temperature. Reptiles (like sea turtles) are cold blooded, so they get their warmth from the environment. This is opposite of animals like us (mammals)-we are able to generate our own body heat so we can travel from warm to cold temperatures easily. Sea turtles cannot do this! When the temperature of the air and water drop suddenly, like they have been doing over the past few weeks (and looks like they will continue to do), sea turtles actually become stunned by the drastic change in temperature. They often drift into marshes and bays when this happens, so cold that they are unable to perform their usual activities (like swimming!).

On Monday, Houston Zoo staff assisted in the weekly beach survey done by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), looking for injured or stranded sea turtles. We got a call from a wildlife rehabilitator who had come upon a cold stunned green sea turtle, and we made arrangements to meet up with her to get the turtle back to Galveston where it could be rehabilitated.

Green sea turtle rescued from being cold stunned on the Texas Coast. If you see a sea turtle on the beach call 1-866-TURTLE-5.
Green sea turtle rescued from being cold stunned on the Texas Coast. If you see a sea turtle on the beach call 1-866-TURTLE-5.

When we got the green sea turtle, we packed it up in the backseat of the NOAA vehicle in a crate and used towels to keep it warm. It is important to not only increase the body temperature of the sea turtle, but also maintain a consistent temperature so that the turtle doesn’t experience drastic changes in cold vs. hot environments. We kept the heat warm in the truck for the drive from Surfside back to Galveston, and then unloaded the turtle in a bigger enclosure inside the heated turtle barn that NOAA oversees. We gave the turtle a bit of water to swim around in but it was too weak to move. So, the turtle was given a dry enclosure with plenty of towels for warmth overnight and the next morning the turtle was doing well-active and alert!

Green sea turtle rehabilitating well at NOAA's sea turtle facility in Galveston
Green sea turtle rehabilitating well at NOAA’s sea turtle facility in Galveston

Now, the turtle is in water and will stay in the warmth of NOAA’s sea turtle facility until it can be brought back to a healthy condition.

If you would like to help protect our local sea turtles, consider making a donation to the Houston Zoo for our sea turtle conservation efforts. You can also come check out our Zoo Lights event with your family-every time you visit the Zoo, you help save animals in the wild!



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The rings are in! Shasta stands watch to guard rings for students at University of Houston. ... See MoreSee Less

6 hours ago

The rings are in! Shasta stands watch to guard rings for students at University of Houston.

Steve Willis, Ella Applegath Milton and 1843 others like this

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Beth BanksOk...I am old enough to remember when Shasta was alive and well, strolling around campus! Needless to say, she was beautiful to see each morning!

4 hours ago   ·  8
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David RaffettoThis really is a cool tradition. Thanks, Houston Zoo!

3 hours ago   ·  3
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Amanda FloresWish I was there to witness it

5 hours ago
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Stacey SandersOklahoma gonna take those rings come week 1!!!

57 minutes ago

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Patty PeErik I want my ring in there soon 😫

4 hours ago   ·  2

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Ryan AvCheryl Love Avina we need to go see Shasta!

5 hours ago
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Denise NelsonLove these college tradition. Got my MEd there

3 hours ago
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Julie CooperCan someone explain about the rings for us English folk please xx

5 hours ago   ·  2

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Kloe WoosleyRyan Woosley you're lucky Beaumont is closer :p I would die to be a cougar.

6 hours ago   ·  1
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Donna S. GuerreroWhat a beautiful cat !! ❤️

5 hours ago   ·  1
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Shannon RaffettoGo Coogs!!

2 hours ago
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Beatriz Medina-LaresTanya Torres is your ring in here???

5 hours ago   ·  1

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Davi Case GarzaEsther Garza check out Shasta!

5 hours ago
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Ronnie LeeI totally want to pet shasta. :o

5 hours ago   ·  1
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Leo N CandiceWill she be protecting them all weekend so that we can go and see

4 hours ago   ·  1
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Casey Mcaninchwow thats a great pic

5 hours ago   ·  1
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Clifford StoutThat's stupid

5 hours ago

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Celeste MarquezOur rings are supposed to be in there 😭😭 Jesus Aguilar we are such procrastinators.

3 hours ago
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Natalee CrianzaOmg how cute

5 hours ago
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Jennifer NguyenAdella VB Miranda check out Shasta!!

3 hours ago   ·  1

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Gabrielle GutierrezKyle Souder big Mia 😍

44 minutes ago   ·  1

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Kevin FordJimmy TaravellaJoel ScarbroughThat's pretty cool

3 hours ago
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Lillie AllenWhooooooose house?

5 hours ago   ·  1

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Joshua HudsonGo Coogs!

3 hours ago
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Linda DeFrance JordanWow - great idea!

3 hours ago
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Our pair of elderly male African painted dogs were excited to meet their new pack-mates, three female dogs that recently moved to Houston from a zoo in the UK! Check out the video and learn more about the new group here: www.houstonzoo.org/endangered-wild-dogs-form-new-pack/ ... See MoreSee Less

1 day ago

Nicole Harding, Joanna Villanueva and 434 others like this

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Cathryn GaborLet's protect this spectacular endangered species! Fundraiser on May 3 in Houston benefiting Painted Dog Conservation. Thank you Houston Zoo!

22 hours ago   ·  3
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Emilee MayberryI've never even seen them moving! They are always sleeping in the same spot. Maybe these new girls will revitalize the pack :)

1 day ago   ·  8
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Lilian CorriganIt's cool to see them so active. Whenever we visit the zoo they are usually just laying around.

1 day ago   ·  2
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Linda TidswellSure hope they weren't moved here because they mate then kill their mates😂

18 hours ago   ·  1
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Michelle MungerThey were sleeping when I was there.

1 day ago
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Patricia TamézBlaze and Mikita have new friends!

23 hours ago
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Austin VaughnAww! Look at those precious puppies!

22 hours ago
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De'jon BaptisteI love dogs

17 hours ago
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Megan ConnerHunter Wayne Mattocks I figured out what Harper is mixed with

24 hours ago
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Ashley NicholeJamie these are awesome

20 hours ago   ·  1

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Lori Miller SouderGorgeous animals!!!

21 hours ago
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Diana KimmelThat's awesome!

17 hours ago
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Sheryl CastilanEmanuel Jimenez Hershey

23 hours ago
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Michelle Wheatley PajakRobin Roxburgh Kellogg 😄😄yay!! Makes me happy!

22 hours ago

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Annita Smith McGinnesRhianna Rhee Hedrick, did you see this?

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Kat RogersNick

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