All Turtle Patients

Meet Harris, Who Was Kept As a Pet

Harris was a juvenile green turtle brought to us by Atoll Marine Centre in Lhaviyani Atoll via two sea plane trips. Harris was previously kept as a pet before being handed to Naifaru Juvenile Centre.

Intake Date: 10th June 2018
Length: 34 cm
Weight: 5 kg
Status: Deceased 29th July 2018
Harris was adopted for Gosia by Oliver



As a result of being kept as a pet, Harris suffered from abnormal shell growth and mild buoyancy syndrome. The shell was soft and gas had accumulated in the digestive tract. We treated Harris with calcium, vitamins and lots of sunlight to help his bones and shell develop properly.

Harris was very constipated so we took him for a digestive tract x-ray with contrast medium. The contrast medium remained in his bowels, indicating a bowel obstruction. He did not responded to medications, but had good appetite, especially for fish. Harris even started to take food from our hands, so we are hid medicines in his food!

After weeks of treating Harris’s constipation medically without any progress, we finally we decided to perform surgery with the hope of alleviating the blockage. During surgery we discovered a rare condition that he has likely suffered since birth. His intestine did not join up to his cloaca and just stopped at a dead end. Poor Harris had probably never been able to pass any stool his whole life. As a consequence, his intestine was very enlarged from the build up of faeces.

Unfortunately, this condition could not be treated. Harris passed away peacefully  under anesthetic.

It is extremely unusual to have discovered this condition in a turtle that is estimated to be 8-12 months old. There are no published cases of of this condition in sea turtles.