A rare loggerhead turtle found on a Cape Cod beach has veterinarians with the New England Aquarium working around the clock.
The turtle was found stranded on a Truro beach Friday and was taken to the New England Aquarium's Sea Turtle Hospital in Quincy, aquarium officials said.
"The fact that it made it through the first night is really encouraging," said Connie Merigo, the Director of the Rescue and Rehabilitation Department at the New England Aquarium.
The turtle, which is likely well over 30 years old, was barely alive when volunteers found him and in a very compromising position.
"When a turtle is on its back, all its body weight is really sitting on those lungs," Merigo said.
And at 350 pounds, this is the largest a Loggerhead gets and that's why veterianians don't think the cold water stunned him, which is happening right now to hundreds of much smaller turtles.
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"I think something happened to him at sea before he washed up on the beach," said Dr. Charles Innis, The New England Aquarium's Director of Animal Health.
The turtle's blood was tested and he will get x-rays. The goal is to get him back in the water as soon as possible because it's not just his size that makes him remarkable.
"The odds of this turtle even existing right now are quite low," Innis said. "So once we get an adult in the population and they're successful in the population, we want to make sure they stay there."
"Turtle gender is determined by temperature, so as the planet warms, we're gonna see more and more females. So as a male this is an important animal," Merigo added.
The sea turtle hospital in Quincy has treated 152 of the 248 cold stunned turtles rescued so far this fall.
Anyone who comes across stranded turtles over the next few weeks is urged to call The Mass Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary and let them know the specific location on the beach.