Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Turtle Love

With apologies to the "Muskrat Love" of the Captain and Tennille and Florida's general love affair with the non-native Manatee, we must say that in the Florida Keys, all the love is about sea turtles. And this post is perfectly timed. Why? Because the unheard of (and called for) cold snap we have been harping on for the better part of a month, sent a lot of fish to meet their maker...and about 180 sea turtles to the Turtle Hospital in Marathon Key. Reptiles that they are, they are too cold to be active so they have just been bobbing around in the cold water, which makes them look even more injured than they really are. Turtle 911 has sent them to the hospital for warming up. And that's the right place to go. The now Turtle Hospital was in its hay day a unique resort with a natural tidewater swimming pool. Turtles use the once "resorty" rooms in combination with kiddie swimming pools that have now been converted to the holding tanks for the "residents". Without this facility, thousand more turtles may have perished. Without the controlled "hot tub" hotel beds (that would be water beds of course) there would be no way to assist turtles with inappropriate ingestions, damaged limbs, and tumorous growths. There are x-ray facilities, a surgical center and even a turtle nursing home quarter for those who just could never survive in the outside world. Assisted living for those with a hard shell! Some of the facility is hands on; some is, for reasons of sanitary conditions, hands off and eyes on- but all of it is educational and interesting and the 90 minte tour allows time to answer every question within the tour group. Well worth the 15$ admission, all of which goes to the efforts of the non -profit organization that operates the hospital.

When its time for the slide show, watch for weight belts and magnetic weights on turtles who for one reason or another have air bubbles under their shells and can't submerge. Look for the same propeller scars that impact the manatees. Look for the scar tissue where the tumors have been removed in surgery. Look for the turtles- most all of whom are alive today but may well have persihed on some yesterday were it not for this facility...

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