Spotted any frozen sea turtles at the Shore? Call in the experts

Dan Wing
November 30, 2018 - 1:33 pm
Long Beach Island

Dreamstime.com

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, Atlantic County, is asking people who live along the shore and bay area to keep an eye out for sea turtles that may have been frozen in the chilly waters.

While they might look dead, or not be moving at all, there's a good chance the sea turtles are just stunned from the cold water. 

The center's founding director, Bob Schoelkopf, explains: "As a reptile, their body temperature drops so low that they go into a state of hybernation, and sea turtles they need to breath. They can't go into hybernation like land turtles can."

It's a common occurance among reptiles in colder climates, and while it's normally not a big problem on the Jersey Shore, a handful of the turtles are found each year. 

Schoelkopf says one has already been found near Long Beach Island, and more will likely turn up. 

He asks that anyone who sees one of the turtles leave them alone and call the experts.

"That would be our 24-hour hotline: 609-266-0538," he said. "And even if it's at night, people will be on call, and we will respond."

Schoelkopf also says this is the start of seal season, when the cute but dangerous animals will sometimes wash ashore. He says people should pass up the selfie opportunity, and especially keep their pets at a distance if they come across one as they do pack a nasty bite.