Nature

Sea turtles frozen into ‘cold coma’ after freak weather thaw back to life

The rescued turtles have now been released back into the sea

People wanting to live forever hope that being cryogenically frozen after death means they can later be thawed with a possible resurrection in the future.

Now, it seems turtles have well and truly mastered that art long before us humans!

Thousands of turtles were affected by the freak weather that swooped into Texas this month, a place that usually experiences desert temperatures suddenly plunged into -18°C.

[Credit: Sea Turtle Inc]

The dramatic winter chill sent the sea creatures into ‘cold stun’ status, whereby they remain awake but lose the ability to move which can often result in death by injury or drowning.

The cold stun, an event that occurs whenever the water drops below 10°C, is essentially turtles experiencing hypothermia and being paralysed from it.

Fortunately, despite the big freeze, the hearts of local Texans remained warm and volunteers rushed out to help the reptiles – rescuing nearly 5,000 of them.

The local community, on South Padre Island in the Gulf, transported the turtles to a nearby convention centre to help them out their comas by heating them in warm water and under lamps.

Meanwhile, wildlife officers were also on hand to use patrol boats and fish out hundreds more turtles that had lost the ability to move their flippers in the ocean.

Speaking about the team effort, executive director of Sea Turtle Inc, Wendy Knight, said she was thrilled to see everyone join forces to help the struggling guys and gals.

Chatting to a US radio station, Wendy said: “The love and support of people who just want to help things that can’t help themselves is overwhelming.”

[Credit: Sea Turtle Inc]

She also expressed gratitude for the local space station that delivered a huge commercial generator to power the heating of their enormous tanks and equipment in their hospital.

Wendy added: “They came to us in our darkest hour of need and got us a generator that was complex to find, and even more complex to wire into our system.”

While the Sea Turtle Inc team have to replace damaged equipment that was destroyed by the storm, the good news is that the turtles are on the road to survival.

Wendy said that without the volunteers, the turtles’ future would have been “Armageddon” yet now all is “calm and quiet”. What resilient little troopers!

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