Sunday, February 25, 2024

Sea turtles vulnerable as cold temperatures creep up on Hampton Roads

VIRGINIA BEACH — The Virginia Aquarium’s stranding response team has already rescued four cold-stunned sea turtles this year from the chilly waters surrounding Hampton Roads. The group anticipates that it will have to rescue more as fall turns into winter and temperatures continue to drop.

Sea turtles who are exposed to waters below 50 degrees can have a “hypothermic reaction” and become cold-stunned, according to NOAA Fisheries.

The condition makes them sluggish, causing them to drift to the top of the water or shore. They become more vulnerable to passing boats and predators as a result, or very sick with pneumonia which can lead to death, according to the Virginia Aquarium.

So far, four sea turtles — dubbed Blue Devil, Jet, Jekyll and Sapelo — have been rescued from the Sandbridge, Ocean View and Little Creek areas.

If you think you’ve seen a sea turtle, call the Virginia Aquarium’s stranding response team at 757-385-7575.

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