Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) rescued a female lined seahorse, named Ruffles, after she was found washed up on Belleair Beach by a beachgoer. CMA suspects the rough waves following Hurricane Michael impacted the small seahorse.
Lou Banholzer found Ruffles on Thurs., Oct. 11 while looking for shark teeth in Belleair Beach, FL. Banholzer and his wife have been vacationing in Florida for 14 years from their Indianapolis home. They often travel from their home in Indianapolis to relax on the beach. One of their favorite activities when they visit is to walk along the beach searching for unique shells and shark teeth.
Effects of Hurricane Michael on Sea Life
Banholzer noted there were more shells than usual along the shoreline after Hurricane Michael ripped through the Gulf of Mexico the day prior. While searching for shark teeth, Banholzer noticed something moving on the sand ahead of him. As he approached, he discovered a tiny seahorse with seaweed wrapped around it. Banholzer says he knew the seahorse was in distress, as it was 15 – 20 feet inland from the shoreline. He promptly placed it in a container of water and called the CMA rescue team for help. Banholzer’s grandchildren love to visit Winter and Hope at Clearwater Marine Aquarium when they join him on vacation, so he knew all about CMA’s rescue, rehabilitation and release efforts. Lou, an animal lover, was excited to be a part of a rescue of something so small. He was happy to hear that big or small, CMA saves them all.
“It’s remarkable that along the 26 miles of Pinellas county beaches, Ruffles was found just in time to be saved and her rescuers knew who to call,” says David Yates, CEO. “The odds of this happening are almost zero. It’s our honor to rescue, rehabilitate and soon release such a fragile and essential creature.”
CMA has a well known history of seahorse rescue efforts, including the famous rescue, rehab and release of Cheeto the lucky seahorse, watched by millions around the world. Cheeto was followed by the rescue, rehab and release of Funyun and Frito.
CMA staff is monitoring Ruffles and she will be released soon. Visit Ruffles at Clearwater Marine Aquarium or check her out on the Ruffles Cam.