Loggerhead turtle vets believed to have been at least 70 years old dies in Marathon

MARATHON, Fla. – A giant loggerhead sea turtle, brought to the Turtle Hospital in Marathon after an apparent boat strike, has died.

The male turtle, believed to be at least 70 years old, was brought in by staff at the hospital along with members of the Coast Guard on Wednesday. Veterinarians at the facility said it was one of the largest turtles they have ever seen.

Bette Zirkelbach, Manager of the Turtle Hospital, said a physical exam and x-rays revealed the seriousness of its injuries.

“It had three large prop wounds on the back of its shell, or its carapace, Zirkelbach said. “The spinal cord, with all those nerve endings, are in the back of that shell made of bone. When that is breached, it is similar if someone broke their back.”

While Zirkelbach believes the boat strike was an accident, she encourages boaters to follow posted markings in the water and to pay attention to their surroundings to reduce their chances of striking marine life.

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