Sea Turtle Rescue at SCA

The South Carolina Aquarium has an underground facility dedicated strictly to helping injured turtles, it’s called the Sea Turtle Rescue program.  When we arrived at SCA, we were offered a chance to purchase tickets to learn more about the hospital and to go down and experience what happens behind the scenes.  I jumped right on it, hoping for freedom to explore, but figuring we would be limited in what we would see, or that there would be a crowd of people and I wouldn’t get great shots or learn important things.

We meet at one, there is a whole group of people – roughly 20, and they take us down the stairwell to the basement.  Upon entering, our guide, shown in the first picture, gave us a few details about sea turtles in general – if you look at the chart she’s standing beside, it shows just how big turtles can become depending on the species.  We were told to mind our fingers because turtles like to eat and can’t tell the difference between our fingers and food.  There were a few other ground rules, since turtles are a protected species, but after that little brief introduction, she released us to explore on our own.

It’s probably one of the best things I’ve ever paid to do – it wasn’t big, but you could take your time at the tanks, read the details of the injured turtles.  Read how one had fishing line wrapped around his neck and fin (see the picture below) – how one man in Boston flew five stranded sea turtles down to South Carolina out of the goodness of his heart…it was heart warming to find out that there is a place that helps these creatures if and when they need it.

On the wall above the tanks were pictures of released turtles – those that rehabilitated there at the hospital and were returned to their homes.  I found it incredible to see just how many this small facility had released.

Some interesting facts:

Leatherback Turtles can grow up to 7 feet

Turtles shed their skins like snakes

Turtles get stranded up north when the temperature turns cold suddenly and they become too sluggish to swim South, thus being stuck up North where they will die if no one helps them

You really shouldn’t litter – it does affect wildlife.

Turtles can get bacterial infections, and are sometimes hit by boats causing damage in their shells or limbs

I think you get the point – check out these cool photographs 🙂  If you ever go to the SCA, make sure you spend the extra cash and visit this hospital!




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