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

Third Hybrid Sea Turtle Rescued — 9 December 2002

Punctuating an extraordinary sea turtle stranding season on Cape Cod was the arrival this morning of the third hybrid of the year.  The first two were rescued on 24 and 30 November as the second stranding wave flooded our beaches with 103 cold-stunned turtles in six days.  So fast and furious was the turnover from beach rescue to emergency transport that we didn’t even get a chance to photograph the hybrids before they were en route to the New England Aquarium in Boston.  We had tentatively identified those two as greens, though we realized something was amiss.  First speculation from Boston was that they might be a green-loggerhead mix.

Today’s find was one of only three turtles on the morning tide, which gave us an opportunity to examine her in greater detail.  The carapace measured 38 centimeters maximum straight-line length and 29 centimeters width.  She weighed 5.7 kilograms and registered an internal body temperature of only 37.8 degrees Fahrenheit, not surprising with the frigid conditions we’ve endured the last few days.

She seems an interesting amalgam of characteristics and gives us the impression perhaps of a hawksbill-green hybrid.  Hawksbills themselves are an extremely rare find on Cape Cod.  The last one recovered during a stranding season was about a decade ago.

We will include below a variety of views and we welcome comments.  We will also be posting to the sea turtle list server to ask participants to view these images and offer suggestions.  E-mail responses can be sent to this Web site,, or to the sea turtle stranding coordinator Bob Prescott,




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