tortuga cay

Tortuga Cay features the sea turtles species native to the Gulf of Mexico and highlights the importance of saving these endangered species.

Green, Hawksbill, and Kemps Ridley sea turtles live in this natural lagoon-like habitat. These turtles are all rehabilitated and deemed non-releasable, either due to injuries or repeated strandings. You may notice that some of their shells float near the surface of the water due to an air bubble resulting from their injury. Learn about their nesting spots on the Texas coast, how to report these to authorities if you find them, and the daily habits you can take to protect sea turtles in their natural habitat.  In our daily Turtle Tales presentation, get an even more in-depth look and how we care for these turtles and observe them as they feed on lettuce and other vegetables. Find out what we are doing to rescue, rehabilitate, and release other sea turtles in partnership with the Padre Island National Seashore.

Our Turtles

  • Daisy

    Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle

    Daisy was part of a sea turtle head start program. Female kemp’s ridley adults laid eggs on the beach, and the rescuers let the turtle eggs hatch and let the hatchlings imprint. Before they could hit the water, rescuers collected the hatchlings. They grew the babies up in hopes of releasing them back to the same beach (will return due to imprinting on the beach). On her exit exam, it was found that Daisy has very poor vision, so she came to TSA in 1990.
  • Einstein

    Hawksbill Sea Turtle

    Einstein is a chronic “beacher." She was found beached 3 separate times. She was released the first two times, but on the third one, she was deemed non-releasable. We acquired Einstein in 1990.
  • Pickles

    Green Sea Turtle

    While we do not have much back story on Pickles' background, we acquired her in 1998 after she was deemed non-releasable due to her cataracts.
  • Crush

    Green Sea Turtle

    Crush is a boat strike victim and was found on the beach. She was taken to Amos Rehabilitation Keep in Port Aransas, TX before being relocated here as a permanent resident in 2008.
  • Lil

    Green Sea Turtle

    Lil is assumed to be a boat strike victim due to the improper buoyancy; however, she also came in as a cold-stunned sea turtle. She was at the rescue center for about a year before she became a permanent resident in 2017.

animals in this exhibit

  • Green sea turtle

    The green sea turtle gets its name from the greenish hue of its skins. The green sea turtles in Tortuga Cay are Squirt, Crush, and Pickles.

  • Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle

    The Kemp’s Ridley is the smallest sea turtle species and the most endangered, with a female nesting population of around 1,000.

  • Hawksbill sea turtle

    These turtles look similar to green sea turtles, but has a parrot-like beak and a rough saw-like lining around their shell.