If you know mepersonally, you know that I absolutely love turtles. I have had them and currently have four sulcata tortoises. I’ve seen them on the shores of Tortuguero released hatchlings at Monterrico, Guatemala, and drifted.
For Many Years I’ve Learned of a Location in Marathon Key.
It is a nonprofit rehab center for sick and wounded sea turtles which has been set up in 1986.
I finally got my opportunity to pay a see to the Turtle Hospital in Marathon Key a week for a video shoot. We took a tour and got up close and personal with a number of the patients of the hospital. Seeing the Turtle Hospital in Marathon Key is something which every person can do — if you are down at the Florida Keys, it is open to the public and a must-do.
A visit will provide you the chance to learn about the different species of sea turtle (present patients include Green, Kemp’s Ridley, Hawksbill and Loggerhead turtles) and also how they are rescued, rehabilitated and released back into the wild.
The organization’s head, betty, gave us a tour of the property. With the surgery suite was visited by us before making our way. The Turtle Hospital had 40+ patients under care for a dedicated group of people. The hospital has its very own custom ambulance that it dispatches to pick up turtles in emergency conditions.
Several of the patients I met were boat collision survivors which were struck even the hull of a boat or by either propeller blades. Others have fibropapillomatosis, an aggressive virus which causes tumors to develop mostly around flippers and the eyes. Turtles come in because they were tangled in fishing line, or have ingested pieces of junk and are sick.
Whatever the case may be, that the Turtle Hospital does everything they can to save every turtle that they visit. Regrettably, some have to be euthanized because of the severity of their injuries.
Nevertheless, the actual reason everybody visits the Turtle Hospital would be to find these incredible reptiles up close. So it could be the only time which the majority of people will get to see them in person in the wild they are constantly in motion.
Sea turtles have been in existence for millions of years, while dinosaurs roamed our planet swimming the seas. Each species of sea turtle is compromised, so the hospital does all it can to educate the public on impact to their habitats. I learned during my visit and I’m so glad that I must spend time.
Admission to the Sea Turtle Hospital is $22 for adults and $11 for children 4-12 (children under 4 are free). For program information or bookings, please call 305-743-2552. The Sea Turtle Hospital is situated directly on Route 1 at Mile Marker 48.5 at Marathon, the heart of the Florida Keys.
Don’t forget if you spot a sick or injured Sea Turtle at Florida, you should promptly contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in 1-888-404-FWCC (*FWC or #FWC on your cell phone).
Are You into the Turtle Hospital before?
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Photography by Carlos de Varona from Chromahouse.