Posted July 7, 2017 | Updated September 27, 2017

Sea Turtle Hospital Patient – Urkel-O’s


Juvenile, Green
(Chelonia mydas)

Patient Status: Released August 17, 2017

Urkel sea turtle with missing flipper

Date Found: May 21, 2017

Location Found: Pasco County, FL

Reason for Rescue: Monofilament fishing line entanglement; fibropapilloma tumors


WEIGHT: 5.89 kg (12.98 lbs)


EXAM FINDINGS: Alert and active, good body condition. Front right flipper wrapped in monofilament fishing line, nearly fully amputated. In good body condition other than fibropapilloma tumors on neck and flippers.

INITIAL TREATMENT: Received vitamins, antibiotics, fluids, and wound care.


Urkel-O’s is a juvenile green sea turtle that was found floating with fishing line entangling its right front flipper on May 21, 2017. A fisherman brought the turtle to shore where it was picked up and transported back to Clearwater Marine Aquarium by our Rescue Team for triage. Fibropapilloma tumors were noted on the turtle’s neck and flippers.

Monofilament fishing line is very dangerous for turtles, especially fishing line that remains in the ocean and isn’t disposed of properly. Turtles can get tangled in the line, causing flipper amputations, or they can swallow the line causing digestive problems. It’s important that you clean up after yourself any time you go fishing.


FUN FACT: Even though Urkel-O’s only has 3 flippers now, he can still live a full life and complete his migrations which can be hundreds of miles long.


5/22/17: Started on a daily regimen of antibiotics, fluids, and glucose checks.

5/24/17: Urkel-O’s right front flipper was surgically amputated.

5/26/17: Swim test in shallow water, and food offered for the first time.

5/29/17: Swim test in deeper rehab pool; started on a regular daily diet.

6/3/17: Glucose checks and fluids discontinued.

6/6/17: Surgery performed to remove fibropapilloma tumors from flippers and neck. Started on oral meds.

7/13/17: Oral meds discontinued.

8/15/17: Urkel-O’s was approved for release!

8/17/17: After 89 days in rehab, Urkel-O’s was released at Honeymoon Island, Pinealls County, FL. Another sucessful rescue, rehab, and release story from Clearwater Marine Aquarium!

All marine turtle footage taken in Florida was obtained with the approval of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) under conditions not harmful to marine turtles. Footage was acquired while conducting authorized conservation activities pursuant to FWC MTP-17-172.


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