Odysseas, the brave
During the winter, when the sea temperatures are the lowest and the weather conditions the fiercest, Loggerhead turtles usually try to find warmer and calmer seas where they can rest and feed. These conditions can be more challenging for juvenile and younger turtles, like the case of little Odysseas.
It was the 26th of January, 2018, when a dark coloured hatchling turtle was found by residents of Naxos island on the beach of Grotta. The baby turtle was brought to “Naxos Wildlife Protection’s” station. According to his size, the hatchling had been born last summer, meaning it was only a few months old and, normally, such young sea turtles, once they are born, will go into a “swimming frenzy” as it is called, they will swim non-stop for days until they reach open water and then head south to warmer and safer waters where they turn into pelagic feeders until they grow into the juvenile stage (approximately 10 years of age).
But tiny Odysseas didn’t make it to warmer waters.
Luckily, caring humans found him and brought him to our station.
Hatchling turtles don’t often make it to rescue centers, as a result our knowledge and experience was limited. With the help and expertise of the Rescue Center of ARCHELON and the wildlife vet Dr. Posantzis, it was decided that the little one was too weak to survive the long journey to the Rescue Center of ARCHELON in Athens and would remain in Naxos.
The next day, X-rays were taken and showed extensive lung infection, furthermore he was suffering from hypothermia and exhaustion.
At once, little Odysseas started his antibiotics and treatment.
Gradually his body temperature was increased and he responded well to his treatment. Within a few days, he was even placed in water where he was swimming energetically and ate for the first time by himself.
Although there were days when Odysseas was responding positively to his treatment and feeding alone, other days he would turn inactive.
End of February of 2018, Odysseas was lively, swimming in a deeper tank and feeding by himself!
New X-rays were taken in a local vet center showing that his lung infection had subsided, which meant that the baby turtle was perfectly healthy.
Unfortunately, the sea temperature was still too cold for the little one to survive, as a result he would remain under our care until summer came.
When May came and the temperatures had risen, Odysseas looked completely different from the weak little hatchling he was in January!
His colours had changed and he had gained more than 200 grams in weight, swimming and diving with great ease and power.
When Odysseas was found he weighed 80 gr, before his release he weighed 297 gr!
On the 19th of May 2018, two volunteers of “Naxos Wildlife Protection” transferred the little Loggerhead turtle with a boat in the open sea south of Naxos in order to give him a good start.
As if he knew what was happening, Odysseas was behaving wild in his little tank before he was released in the warm, calm sea.
It is a rare sight to watch a turtle hatchling swimming in the wild, and Odysseas gave us the opportunity to observe such a small turtle swimming in the sea!
We were thrilled and filled with happiness following and watching little Odysseas return home and swimming as if he were just reborn!
Odysseas was a difficult case because of the young of his age and rarely has a hatchling turtle been rescued and treated successfully in Greece. But through him we learnt a lot and we are sure his own strong character played an important role and we would never have made it without the help of ARCHELON and Dr. Posantzis.
Click here to watch the video of Odysseas’s release!
“The only way we can hope to progress is getting more and more people to work on the empathy. How do we do that?
We tell them stories. We help them to think by spreading goodness and empathy far and wide, further and wider than the hate.”
— Dr. Jane Goodall