The turtles, which were stranded during the recent cold weather, had surgery for fibropapilloma, a disease that causes cauliflower-like tumors to grow on the skin of the turtles.
More than 4,000 sea turtles statewide went into shock during the recent two-week cold spell, and more than 170 of them spent some time at the new rehabilitation facility at Gumbo Limbo.
It was good timing for the facility, which received its final licensing and permitting on Dec. 30, although they never could have imagined how busy they’d be.
“We’ve well exceeded our quota for the next five years,” said Kirt Rusenko, a marine conservationist at Gumbo Limbo.
As reptiles, turtles don’t generate their own body heat. When the temperature drops, so do their body temperatures, Rusenko said. When their body temperatures fall below 60 degrees, they become immobilized and tend to float to the surface.
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