CLEARWATER (FOX 13) - The team at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) are nursing 19 sea turtles back to health after they were severely affected by cold water temperatures.
CMA said it found the 19 live turtles with eight others others that had died from the cold temperatures.
CMA said the cold-blooded reptiles take on the temperature of surroundings and, when exposed to water 50 degrees and lower for several days, their circulatory systems can slow, making the animals 'cold-stunned.'
A cold-stunned turtle is unable to swim or function properly, putting it at risk of being hit by a boat.
Several of the rescued sea turtles had already been hit by boats or contracted 'pink tumors' as a result of a virus.
Guests can view the turtles as they are treated in the surgical suite at CMA.
During their hospital stay, each turtle is given a name to help the team keep treatments and meals organized. The current theme is junk food, resulting in names such as Pizza, Queso, and Hoagie.
Basic treatments for the turtles include vitamin and dietary supplements, wound care, heart rate monitoring, and blood draws.
CMA said sea turtles are considered endangered. Anyone who comes in contact with a distressed turtle schould call the CMA stranding line at 727-441-1790 ext. 1. Once the call has been made, keep an eye on the turtle until the CMA team arrives, but please refrain from touching or moving the animal to prevent further injury.