Frozen Sea Turtles Wash Up On Shores in Cape Cod Because of Cold Spell


Ariela, Fresh Face Editor

About 600 sea turtles this season have been washing up on shores because of a “cold-stun,” when tropical reptilians are stuck in cold water.  Turtles are reliant on heat for their bodies to function, and their body system started to shut down. They soon become unable to swim and head for shallower water, where they could freeze to death.

Image result for turtles killed because of cold stun“It was like they were flash-frozen, flippers in all weird positions like they were swimming,” Robert Prescott, director of Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary stated. This sanctuary recovered 584 sea turtles, putting 2018 on track to be the second-largest cold-stun season since the sanctuary started its rescue program in the early 1980’s. Out of those turtles, 340 where found alive and 244 were found dead. The majority of the turtles found were Kemp Ridleys, the most endangered sea turtle in the world. There were also a few loggerheads, which includes one weighing almost 300 pounds. Some of the survivors have been transported to the New England Aquarium’s Animal Care Facility for rehabilitation.

“Sea turtles are moving further north along our coast … as waters are warming and they are expanding their ranges,” biologist Wallace J. Nichols stated. “When we get these quick swings from warm to cooler, the turtles that haven’t made it south definitely get into trouble.”