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Loggerhead That Checked Itself Into Florida Turtle Hospital Checks Out After Ten Week Stay

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MARATHON KEY, Florida -- A loggerhead sea turtle, that was ill and coincidentally found its own way to The Turtle Hospital in Marathon, was released Sunday off the Florida Keys.

Staff members of The Turtle Hospital saw the turtle swimming near a dock, just 20 feet away from the turtle rehabilitation pools on March 30. At first they didn’t think too much about it, but the turtle hung around and wouldn’t leave.

Later that day, Turtle Hospital administrator Ryan Butts decided to take a closer look and determined the reptile was not well. So he and other staff members rescued it to examine and treat it.

For the past 10 weeks, the loggerhead, nicknamed by “Kincaid” by hospital staff members, was treated for a bacterial infection, fattened up and released Sunday.

“We’ve went out and rescued several thousand turtles over the past 25 years, but this was the first time a turtle has ever tracked us down and showed up at our doorstep waiting to be admitted to the Turtle Hospital,” Butts said.

One thing about the Keys’ Turtle Hospital, the only licensed veterinary facility in the world that solely treats sea turtles, is that no turtle ever gets turned away.

“Even if it doesn’t have health insurance,” Butts quipped.

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