Rare loggerhead sea turtle swept onto Cornish beach by 'stormy weather'

He was "surprisingly alert and active' despite the ordeal. Credit: Blue Reef Aquarium

A rare loggerhead sea turtle has been swept ashore in Cornwall by the recent storms.

The reptile was found by a member of the public on Hayle beach last Friday, 10 November.

Loggerhead turtles are named after their large heads, which support powerful jaw muscles and allow them to eat hard-shelled prey, like clams, whelks and conch.

"Bycatch" - the accidental capture of marine animals in fishing gear - is a serious problem for loggerhead turtles, because they often come into contact with fisheries.

This means they're classed as "vulnerable" by the World Wildlife Trust.

When the loggerhead turtle was discovered on Hayle Beach, British Divers Marine Life Rescue was contacted for advice and assistance.

Trained volunteer medics were quickly dispatched to the scene.

Credit: Blue Reef Aquarium

BDMLR’s Area Coordinator for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Dan Jarvis, said: “When we arrived the turtle was surprisingly alert and active.

"Usually when they wash up here they are hypothermic, malnourished and weak, so it was encouraging to see one still moving around so much.

"We gave it a visual assessment and first aid before taking it for rehabilitation with our colleagues at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay."

Senior Aquarist, Abby Wheston, said “When the turtle arrived at the aquarium we checked for any injuries and to see its body condition.

"Apart from a cluster of goose barnacles attached to the end of its shell, the overall external condition was good."

She added that the recent stormy weather and strong currents could have possibly caused the turtle to be taken off course and stranded in the UK.

“There has been an initial response from the turtle who has been taking fluids and showing some signs of getting stronger. Although it is still very early days, we are hopeful for the turtle’s survival,” Abby said.

It's hoped this juvenile turtle will be recovered in time to join three other rescued turtles from earlier in the year when they're released back into the wild very soon.

If you find a live stranded turtle or marine mammal in distress it can be reported to the British Divers Marine Life Rescue 24hr hotline 01825 765546.