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What to do if you see a cold-stunned turtle

Posted: 4:08 PM, Dec 03, 2019
Updated: 2019-12-03 16:08:28-05
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ALBANY, N.Y. (WKBW) — Did you know four species of sea turtles can be found in New York's marine waters? The green, loggerhead, leatherback and Kemp's Ridley turtles all call New York home for a portion of the year. All are considered threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

In the late fall, early winter, these sea turtles leave New York and head for warmer waters down south. But, in recent years, the turtles have been sticking around longer due to warmer annual temperatures. As temperatures start dropping dramatically, the reptiles can experience a sudden and shocking change in water temperatures. This can cause them to become cold-stunned. According to Wildlife experts, this is a "hypothermic condition that results in a lethargic state."

If you see a sea turtle on the beach, please call the New York State Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Stranding Hotline (24 hours) at 631-369-9829. It's extremely important that you don't approach or touch the turtle, this can cause them even more stress. Cold-stunned sea turtles need professional care from trained animal responders.