If you find a cold-stunned or stranded sea turtle, please call the Texas Sea Turtle Information Line at 1-866-TURTLE5 (887-8535). Permitted volunteers and staff members will respond to your sighting. #savetheturtles
A cold-stunned sea turtle has become hypothermic due to severe cold weather.
Like all reptiles, sea turtles are ectothermic (cold-blooded) and cannot regulate their body temperature. If water temperatures drop below approximately 50°F (10°C), sea turtles become lethargic and are unable to swim. They float up to the surface, become vulnerable to boat strikes, or wash ashore and become stranded. If not rescued quickly, these defenseless animals often die of shock, predation, or trauma due to boat strikes.
What should i do if i see a cold-stunned turtle?
Follow the instructions below and wait for assistance. You will be asked to provide information such as location, number of turtles, and the condition of the turtles you find. To protect the turtle, you may need to move it out of the water and away from the cold wind and direct sun.
Who should I call if I see a cold-stunned turtle?
If you see a sea turtle floating at the water’s surface or washed ashore, quickly report the sighting by calling 1-866-TURTLE-5 (1-866-887-8535). This is the number for turtles found on the TEXAS coast.
What information should I be prepared to give?
Callers should be prepared to describe where the turtle is located, whether it appears dead or alive, and the animal’s size (estimated weight or length of the shell – to know if it will require two or more persons to respond).
I found a turtle and called the stranding hotline, including the number the phone number for the region I am in. No one answered. What do I do with the turtle?
Continue to call the number. If possible, send a text message to the after hours cell phone number listed. Leave a message with your name, phone number, and detailed description of where you found the stranded turtle.
What should I do if I found a turtle but can't stay with it until someone arrives?
Take a photo of the turtle and mark it with a distinctive item, such as a stick, bucket, or something bright. Notify the responder how it was marked and provide photos so they can locate it promptly.
I found a turtle on the shoreline and put it in my trunk. Can I bring it to you?
You should not transport a turtle without prior permission. Once you receive permission to transport the turtle, you will be given instructions by the responder on how to transport it safely.
Why can't we touch the turtle or try to warm it up?
Only permitted staff and volunteers are allowed to touch or handle turtles. Do not warm a cold-stunned sea turtle. Raising a cold turtle’s temperature too quickly may harm the animal. Do not put the turtle back in the water; it could drown.
What if the turtle is not alive?
If you find a dead sea turtle, please report the location and condition of the turtle. All dead turtles will be recovered if possible, although the priority will be to recover live ones first.