Turtle Patient 181: Minnie, Juvenile Hawksbill

Dr Minnie checking turtle patient Minnie's injured flipper. Image.

Minnie is a juvenile hawksbill who was found with a damaged left flipper near Vakkaru House Reef in Baa Atoll.

The Vitals

Intake Date: 4 March 2022
Patient Number: 181
Rescue Location: Baa Atoll
Reason: Found with damaged flipper
Transport Method: Speedboat
Status: Released 9 April 2022

Species: Hawksbill
Scientific Name: Eretmochelys imbricata
Sex: Unknown
Age: Juvenile
Length: 35.7 cm
Weight: 3.65 kg

The Adoptive Parents

Minnie has kindly been adopted for Rania by Perry El Ashmawi, by Sophie Trümper, for Georgina by Maddi Paul, by Jan-Hendrik Pöhler, and by Christine Küper.

Minnie’s Story

Minnie is a juvenile hawksbill found with a significantly damaged left front flipper and a large external parasite burden. We X-rayed her upon arrival and were sad to see that her entire digestive system was backed up with faeces and grit like material.

We gave her a fresh water bath overnight to remove all the parasites and this worked very well. She is now back in salt water and she is already passing some of the faeces as well as eating prawns. Luckily, her left flipper will be salvageable, and with some good food, some rest, some antibiotics and some wound care, we are sure she will make an excellent recovery.

13 March 2022
Minnie had minor surgery this week to remove some dead tissue and we are pleased to report her flipper is healing a lot better than it initially seemed. There is healthy tissue coming through nicely, although, unfortunately, she will lose most of the bones of her wrist as they are dead and dying. Thankfully she should still have pretty good function of her flipper and we will avoid any further amputations. She is a fiend for prawns and has settled in very well.

20 March 2022
Minnie is very bright and active and is spending most of her time resting on the bottom of her tank. We repeated her X-rays to see how her flipper is doing and, as expected, some of the bones of her wrist are now starting to die off. However, this is natural progression and it doesn’t seem to be causing her any issues. She remains on antibiotics and pain relief and is having bandage changes every 1-2 days. She loves her prawns!

27 March 2022
Minnie’s wound is healing beautifully, and we are now confident that we can save most of the wrist joint. This is great as originally it looked as if it may all be lost. She has an excellent appetite albeit only for prawns. We are trying to encourage her to eat other things as well and explore some enrichment options such as dead corals and rocks. When she has healed up in a few weeks, we will return her to Vakkaru house reef so that she can be back where she’s used to!

3 April 2022
Minnie is doing better and better day by day. Her wound is closing in nicely and she is eating really well. Dr Minnie has already discussed with the biologist from the resort where she was found about returning her to their house reef, so we will shortly be able to get her back where she belongs!

9 April 2022
Minnie was successfully released back onto her house reef after recovering from a suspected predator attack. She arrived a little underweight, covered in barnacles and with a non-healing wound, but after some dedicated wound care, pain relief and antibiotics, she bounced back very quickly. On a steady diet of prawns she quickly regained her lost weight, and became a very active, alert and fiesty little turtle. We hope she will be seen around for many years to come.