Cold temperatures stun, even kill sea turtles in North Carolina

CAPE HATTERAS, North Carolina -- Cold temperatures are stunning and even killing sea turtles in North Carolina, according to Hatteras Island Wildlife Rehabilitation.

The group posted a video to Facebook showing a worker checking a motionless sea turtle for a pulse.

The turtle in the video does have a pulse, meaning it is alive, but it is cold stunned. Cold stunning is the hypothermic reaction that happens in sea turtles when they are exposed to cold water temperatures for a long period of time.

Sea turtles are cold-blooded reptiles. So when they're in cold water, they don't have the ability to warm themselves. If the turtles cannot find warmer conditions, they could eventually die.

Related: Alligators poke noses through ice to survive winter chill

Hatteras Island Wildlife Rehabilitation said it had found several sea turtles who were unable to survive the cold. The one in the video was sent to the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation Center, where it will hopefully make a full recovery.

Stay on top of breaking news stories with the ABC11 News App
Copyright © 2022 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.