"Cold Stunned" Turtles Return To Ocean After Stay At NC Aquarium

Nearly two dozen sea turtles returned to their ocean home after being treated at the North Carolina aquarium.

The 21 turtles spent several weeks at the Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium after suffering from a potentially fatal condition known as cold stunning.

The turtles have recuperated, and were taken by the Coast Guard to the warm waters of the gulf stream about 5 miles offshore. One of the larger green turtles was tagged with a satellite transmitter so researchers can follow its movements.

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While we saw temperatures dipping this week on land, imagine how it felt in the water.

This week, the North Carolina Aquarium welcomed 19 cold sea turtles. They were rescued of the coast of Cape Lookout, where the water had turned dangerously cold for them.

Because sea turtles are cold-blooded and cannot tolerate winter weather, most usually head to the warmer gulf stream waters or migrate south when the seasons change. Those that stay behind and get caught in a sudden chill suffer a potentially fatal condition that is comparable to hypothermia for humans.

By winter time, the recovered turtles are taken to the gulf stream, away from colder, coastal waters.