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Don Lewis, Massachusetts Audubon Society,
Fox Island Wildlife Management Area

First Loggerhead — 2 December 2000

A stiff north/northwest breeze, mixed with on-and-off snow showers, drove three sea turtles onto Brewster beaches this morning: two Kemp’s ridleys and the first loggerhead of the season.  Today’s rescues brings the total to 28 cold-stunned sea turtles to date: 27 ridleys and one loggerhead.

Margot Fitsch of Brewster found this first loggerhead
near Saints Landing at 8:30 this morning.

A tad over 50 centimeters carapace length and weighing 41.5 pounds, this small juvenile reminds us how much we miss our resident 3-pound terrapins and dread this back-breaking phase of the sea turtle rescue season.  Yes, they are gorgeous, but a 40-pounder is on the tiny side of the bell curve for loggerheads.  If past is prologue, we’ll be visited by turtles in the 55 to 70 pound range for the next few weeks.  Time to reach for back brace and truss.

Even her massive size, compared with the smaller Kemp’s ridleys, didn’t save this loggerhead from severe cold-stunning.  Her internal body temperature registered only 34.9 degrees Fahrenheit.  She and her two ridley companions are en route to the New England Aquarium in Boston for emergency treatment.