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PINS: Recent cold snap leads to 88 cold-stunned sea turtles

Cold-stunned sea turtles turning up after frigid temperatures
Posted at 12:36 PM, Jan 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-15 14:20:57-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — With temperatures dropping last weekend and remaining low throughout this week, water temperatures dropped below 50°F.

That caused sea turtles to go into hypothermic shock or became cold stunned. Cold-stunned turtles are lethargic and unable to swim so they float to the surface and wash ashore. This condition makes them vulnerable to boat strikes and predators.

The Padre Island National Seashore reports that 88 cold-stunned sea turtles have been documented in Texas so far. Of that number, 51 were found in East Matagorda Bay, one in Aransas/Copano Bay, two on Mustang Island/Aransas Pass, 30 in the Upper Laguna Madre, and four in the Lower Laguna Madre.

Most turtles were recovered alive.

If you find a cold-stunned or stranded sea turtle, please contact PINS officials at 361-949-8173, ext. 266, or the after hours number at 361-876-8462.

Other calls can be directed to the Texas Turtle Hotline at 1-866-Turtle-5, option 6 for reports at Padre Island National Seashore, including North Padre Island.