An endangered six-pound Kemp’s ridley sea turtle was rescued from a rocky inlet in Hull on Wednesday. The animal was spotted by a passer-by on the Boston Harbor side of the peninsula and was found on its back among the rocks. Its shell had some abrasions which were likely caused by being tossed about by the swells of the strong seas. Normally, stranded hypothermic sea turtles are found mostly on the Outer Cape from Brewster to Truro. However, in recent years, both live and dead sea turtles have been found in the late autumn and early winter from Plymouth to Hull.

The New England Aquarium encourages hardy, South Shore beach walkers to keep their eyes sharp for roundish objects covered by seaweed or other debris near the high-tide line. If someone does find a sea turtle, please call the Aquarium’s stranding phone number at 617-973-5247.

closeup of rescued sea turtle on exam table
This turtle is among several dozen receiving care at the Aquarium's sea turtle hospital.

The turtle came in with a temperature of 53 degrees, which is about the current ocean temperature. It will be re-warmed five degrees per day over the next few days until it is in the mid-70s, a preferred body temperature for sea turtles. Treatment is likely to include receiving IV fluids for dehydration and antibiotics and anti-fungals to fight off infections. There is a slightly less than 50% chance that it has pneumonia. Since it had some shell damage, X-rays will be taken to look for fractures.

This turtle’s prognosis is guarded, but nearly 80% of these live, cold-stunned sea turtles recover and are later released. The Kemp’s ridley sea turtle is the world’s most endangered sea turtle. Most of its population decline from the 1940s to the 1970s was due directly to human activities. It has been slowly recovering since the 1980s.