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Sick loggerhead turtle checks herself into the hospital

March 31, 2009 |  5:31 pm


An ailing loggerhead turtle had the right idea when she swam up to the Turtle Hospital -- the only licensed veterinary hospital in the world that treats sea turtles exclusively.

The Florida Keys veterinary hospital is next to a harbor, and staff noticed the turtle swimming in the harbor Sunday morning.  She looked emaciated and her shell was covered in barnacles -- both signs that she was ill.  Staff rowed into the harbor in dinghies and caught the turtle, whom they named Kincaid.

Kincaid was found to be suffering from a bacterial infection; she's now being treated with medication and will be released back into the harbor when she's recovered.

Loggerhead turtles are endangered because of shrimp trawling, pollution and development in their nesting areas.  Adult males grow to an average of 250 pounds, but some have been found to weigh up to 1,000 pounds.

--Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Ryan Butts, administrator of the Turtle Hospital, examines Kincaid's throat. Credit: Bob Care / Associated Press

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