Ready, Set, Adopt!

We’re making your holiday and special occasion gift shopping simple with our revised and updated
“Adopt A Rescued Sea Turtle”
program. First, visit our website (www.seaturtlehospital.org) to review the list of patients up for adoption. Then just pick and click and you’ll be on your playing a part in their feeding, medication and rehabilitation. There’s a level of giving for every budget, every occasion. The hardest part will be deciding which of those faces you love the most.

We’ve had numerous requests over the past year to expand this program, and now we’re happy to roll it out just in time for the holidays. It’s a unique present for someone you love, and that can include YOU! It’s also a great framework for presenting environmental issues to classrooms, and a worthwhile project for scouts and other youth/adult groups. Visit our website today to get your adoption certificate, photo and cool turtle-gear (based on adoption level.) We’ll be sure to mention your name to your new flippered friend at mealtime.


Forty seven turtles! That’s alot to care for. Different diets, and personalities. Different medicines, vitamins and wound care regimens. Continuous monitoring of intake and output, water quality and temperature; flushing and cleaning and redirecting of water pipes.

Laundry, laundry, LAUNDRY! Our volunteers handle these duties and many more every day. Changing hats from feeders and cleaners and medical care givers to ambassadors and educators, administrators and fund raisers.

The first volunteers arrive each morning around 7 AM to begin food and medication preparation, followed soon after by a highly dedicated team of folks who will proceed to:

  • Feed each turtle according to needs and yes, wants.  They can be choosy eaters too!
  • Scoop clean each tank.
  • Administer to the special needs of each turtle.
  • Refill each tank.
  • Wash, dry, fold and stack towels.  Repeat, repeat, repeat!
  • Physicaly prepare the building for visitors in the afternoon.

It takes many people each day to keep the place running smoothly.  It’s often difficult and hot work.  Not to mention dirty and smelly.  The rewards are plentiful and where you can find them, the look in the turtles eyes, their eager and able to return to the sea.

Jean Beasley, Executive Director, F. L.

Animal Planet’s 2007 Hero of the Year! Congratulations Jean!!

Click HERE for the official announcement

Sea Turtle Activity: Report any nestings, strandings (dead or alive) and hatchings to Terry Meyer @ 910-470-2880.

Our sea turtles need your help!

Click here to donate to the Sea Turtle Hospital!

“A Day In The Life”

Welcome to “a day in the life” at the Sea Turtle Hospital. With the LIVE turtle camera you can visit us day or night. Of course it’s pretty dark here at night, but that doesn’t necessarily mean nothing happens. We function like any hospital emergency room, never knowing exactly what’s coming, or when.

I’ll take you through a typical day during our “busy season,” which is June through August. It’s busy because our sea turtles are congregating in the near-shore waters, dating, mating, chowing down and coming ashore to nest. Mix in thousands of tourists, boats and personal watercraft all trying to share the same space and there’s bound to be some unfortunate encounters.

Volunteers begin arriving at the hospital between 7:00 am and 8:00 am, and you’ll see a different, but regular crew each day. We’ll try to remember to look up and smile and wave to y’all! After a quick check of the turtles and the infrastructure to make sure there were no overnight problems, the water flowing into the tanks is turned off and the refrigerator door opens. Our turtles immediately come to attention because those sounds (or lack of splashing water) mean something: a tasty meal of fish, squid, crab and seaweed is being prepared and is about to be served. This is generally the ONLY meal our patients get, the exception being our severely underweight turtles. They keep asking and they keep on receiving, until they’ve regained their strength and bulked up to a healthy weight.

Additional volunteers, including our summer interns, trickle in over the next half-hour. While the turtles digest their meal, the volunteers “accessorize” the area with nets, pails of Clorox water, brushes, cloths, towels and waste buckets. Meanwhile, in the kitchen the dishes have been done and the medications are being prepared and placed in individual trays for any turtle receiving specialized treatment.

About an hour after the turtles eat, volunteers begin scooping each tank with long-handled nets, stirring up any “crumbs” from the bottom and discarding them. Each tank is scooped again and again, until all debris has been eliminated. Turtles not requiring hands-on care are scrubbed with a long-handled brush (they LOVE having a backrub!) and their tanks are cleaned and wiped with a Clorox cloth. White filters are tied to their water pipes; these trap any heavy sediment that is forced through the pipes when we turn the system back on. The turtles gravitate to their restored “shower” and relish the splashing and vibration of water pounding their backs.

Turtles in need of medical treatment have their tanks drained for hands-on treatment. Small patients are treated on the exam table. Typical procedures include: barnacle removal, wound flushing, Betadine scrubs and soaks and the application of various antibiotic creams. You may see turtles recovering from wounds that obviously required advanced medical intervention. They may have plates and screws holding various body parts together, sutures, amputations or any manner of surgical “battle scars.” These are our high-maintenance patients that often require treatment several times a day.

After our patients have been cared for we prepare our building for our afternoon visitors. We are proud to open our hospital on June 8th, continuing through the month of August. You can visit us from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm every day EXCEPT Wednesday and Sunday. We’ll take you through in groups of about 8 people and let you meet as many turtles as we can – generally about 5 – depending on their medical conditions and their ability to deal with visitors. Some turtles have exceptional “people skills” while others “just want to be left alone!”

So this is a “typical” day, but nothing about working with these magnificent animals is ever ordinary. Who knows what you’ll see when you tune in. But I can guarantee what you WILL see is how many people come to Topsail Beach just to visit our turtles! We are staffed totally by volunteers and, even though we’re smiling, we’re sweating in that 98º heat and oppressive humidity as much as (probably more) than you are! We do it because we love our turtles and we want to share our successes with you – our supporters and donors. We can only continue our work because of your generous donations. Thanks!

See you this summer – and be sure to tell us if you saw us on “TV!”

Article by Karen Sota.