A 103-pound loggerhead turtle is recovering at the STAR Center at the N.C. Aquarium on Roanoke Island after surgery to remove two fish hooks and a stingray barb from his throat, mouth and esophagus.
“Sea turtles are quite the survivors, and this one is no exception!” the Outer Banks aquarium said in a Facebook post.
The turtle was brought to the aquarium’s sea turtle hospital, the STAR Center, after it was hooked off a fishing pier Saturday.
At first, caregivers saw only the large hook in its throat, and the stingray barb lodged in the roof of its mouth.
The hook was far down the turtle’s throat, and the barb, which was deeply embedded in a sensitive area, created an additional obstacle for removal, the aquarium said. It was determined that surgery was required to remove both, and N.C. Aquariums veterinarian Dr. Emily Christiansen arrived the following day.
A radiograph image was taken to see the hook’s exact location, and that revealed two hooks in the turtle’s throat. It was determined that the newly-discovered hook was from a previous encounter because it was deeply embedded in the esophagus.
“Surgical removal of the two hooks and stingray barb was successful!” aquarium staff said. “The turtle remains in our care and our veterinary team is hopeful that it will fully recover and be released in the future.”
Check out photos from the surgery below: