MANTEO, N.C. (WNCN) — The recent cold snap has sent a spate of cold-stunned sea turtles to the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island for rehabilitation, officials confirmed.
In the past several days, eight of the turtles have been taken to the aquarium with cold damage, said Brian Postelle, aquarium spokesman.
The turtles tend to wash up on the sound side of Hatteras Island, south of Oregon Inlet, Postelle said.
“Whenever the water temperature drops below 50 degrees, that’s when you start seeing the turtles get cold stunned,” he said.
Janette’s Pier in nearby Nags Head reported a water temperature Monday of 42 degrees.
National Park Service workers and volunteers walk the shoreline and find the animals, which are then taken to the aquarium for rehabilitation.
The turtles are warmed up slowly, over the course of several days, at the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation Center, Postelle said.
Most of the turtles survive. Of the 26 to have arrived at the aquarium so far this season, only three have died, he said. Two of those are believed to have been dead on arrival, he said.
Most of the turtles the center has received this year have been green sea turtles, but there have been a few Kemp’s ridley sea turtles and one loggerhead, he said.