Cold-stunned 350-pound loggerhead turtle washes up on Cape Cod

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A 350-pound loggerhead turtle washed ashore on Cape Cod over the weekend, according to a statement from the Massachusetts Audubon Society.

The turtle washed up on the beaches of Truro on Friday. The titanic weight just tops a 330-pound adult female found two years ago in Wellfleet – nicknamed “Munchkin” by the team that cared for her, according to USA Today. 

“It’s pretty rare for an adult sea turtle to strand in the fall,” Karen Dourdeville, coordinator for Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, said in a statement. “The vast majority of turtles that become cold-stunned here are juvenile sea turtles or sub-adults.” 

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Sea turtle strandings have become an annual event on Cape Cod, occurring when the turtles are unable to navigate away before the water temperature drops.

The turtles become “cold-stunned,” meaning they become immobile and wash up on shore. Loggerheads do not usually succumb until the temperatures have dropped much lower.

On Friday, Truro officials responded quickly to the request for help with the stranded loggerhead, Dourdeville said.

“Thanks to the Truro DPW for loading this very large adult male loggerhead into their truck and bringing it to the sanctuary,” a post on the sanctuary’s Facebook page read. “You guys rock!”

Public Works staff helped take the turtle to the sanctuary before transferring it to New England Aquarium’s Animal Care Center in Quincy.

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On the Massachusetts Audubon Society’s website, the group lists the steps to take when a sea turtle is found stranded on the beach, including to cover the turtle and call the Welfleet Bay turtle hotline.

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