Turtles caught in the cold to rehab

December 28, 2005

Ridley turtles and an 88-pound loggerhead turtle named Bruiser are expected to spend winter in rehabilitation in New York after being caught in the cold.

The turtles, which live and breed off the coasts of Mexico and Texas, travel up the East Coast each year and can be trapped if water temperature drops too quickly, Newsday reported Wednesday.

If caught in the cold, the turtles' heartbeat slows to one or two beats per minute, and they float uncontrollably in the water.

About 40 turtles were found in late November and early this month on the shore at Cape Cod by volunteers from the Massachusetts Audubon Society.

The turtles were initially taken to the New England Aquarium in Boston, but six turtles will rehab at the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation in Riverhead, N.Y.

"When you deal with endangered species, it really makes a difference," said Kimberly Durham, the rescue program director of the Riverhead Foundation. "If this one is a female and she's ready to breed, it could make a real difference in the population."

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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