Turtles stranding on Mass. shores at brisk pace

December 8, 2012 - 1:33 PM
Sea Turtle Strandings

In this Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 photo, a rescued green sea turtle swims in a tank at the New England Aquarium's Animal Care Center in Quincy, Mass. Some 207 sea turtles have stranded on Cape Cod this fall. That exceeds the 50-to-200 range that typically are stranded in the season from October to December. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

BOSTON (AP) — Sea turtle strandings in Massachusetts' Cape Cod Bay are so common that the phenomenon has its own season. But the brisk rate at which the cold-stunned turtles are washing ashore this year has packed a local rescue hospital.

As of Saturday, 221 turtles had been stranded this fall. That already exceeds the range of 50 to 200 that typically are stranded from October to December.

The numbers have pushed the New England Aquarium's Animal Care Center over its turtle capacity a few times, and more than two dozen were flown to a Florida to relieve the crowding.

The cold-blooded animals become immobile when the temperature drops too low. And the geography of the Cape, which hooks well into the ocean, acts as a natural turtle trap.