Kemp's ridley turtles (Lepidochelys kempii) are a critically endangered marine species found along the eastern coast of the United States and Mexico. During autumn and early winter, turtles in the northern end of this range may become cold-stunned and stranded if they fail to migrate to warmer waters. Depending on the time of day that stranded turtles are discovered, turtles may be kept overnight by stranding officials before being hospitalized. Turtles for which hospitalization was delayed overnight had higher respiratory rates, packed cell volumes, plasma total solids, and blood potassium concentrations in comparison to turtles that were hospitalized on the day of stranding. There was no significant difference in outcome for turtles presented immediately versus those affected by delayed presentation. These findings suggest that cold-stunned turtles affected by an overnight hospitalization delay may benefit from basic medical treatments, such as fluid therapy, until they can be transferred to a hospital.
Kemp's ridley turtle