Chex would have another life lost if the rescue team at Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) hasn't responded to a call from a Good Samaritan, who spotted Chex floating on the surface of the water.
Sea turtles normally spend their time underwater, coming up every 20 minutes for oxygen. A floating sea turtle is generally suffering from gastrointestinal issues — this happens primarily when the turtle ingests plastic or a balloon and is called floater syndrome. The plastic becomes lodged in the turtle’s digestive track, trapping air and disrupting his ability to dive down. This leads to the turtle’s inability to feed or protect himself and, eventually, the turtle will starve to death.
Chex, like many turtles, probably ate a balloon because he thought it was a jellyfish.
“Trash ingestion, such as plastic bags, balloons and other nonbiodegradable plastics, are virtually impossible for us to detect with X-rays, CT scans or other diagnostics until it is too late,” Lauren Bell, a associate sea turtle and aquatic biologist at CMA, told the Dodo.
The team watched Chex very closely. His rehabilitation included monitoring his food intake and keeping him in shallow water, increasing the depth of his pool a little at a time as he became stronger.