5 min read

Giant Sea Turtle Rescued After Eating Giant Fishing Hook

He swallowed the whole thing 😱

A man was fishing off of Bob Hall Pier on North Padre Island, Texas, when he suddenly felt something on his line that definitely wasn’t a fish. He went to take a closer look — and realized to his dismay that a sea turtle had accidentally swallowed his fishing hook. 

sea turtle swallows fishing hook
Texas Sealife Center

Distraught and wanting to help, the man immediately contacted the Texas Sealife Center, and volunteers quickly came out to collect the injured sea turtle and take him into their care. They decided to name him Captain, and rushed him back to their facilities to examine him and determine what the best course of action would be. 

sea turtle swallows fishing hook
Texas Sealife Center

“He was in very good condition aside from swallowing the hook,” Amanda Terry, director of rehabilitation at the Texas Sealife Center, told The Dodo. “His bloodwork was within normal limits. Radiographs were taken to determine where the hook was, and if we could remove it or not.” 

sea turtle swallows fishing hook
Texas Sealife Center

After some X-rays, Captain’s rescuers were able to determine that he had completely swallowed the fishing hook, and it was resting in his esophagus. They decided the only thing to do would be to perform surgery to remove the hook — which luckily went extremely well. They were able to remove the hook from Captain’s esophagus with no problems, and then set about helping him on his journey to complete recovery. 

sea turtle swallows fishing hook
Texas Sealife Center

“He was started on a course of antibiotics and started on food two days after he recovered from surgery,” Terry said. “He has been doing well and eating great since then.” 

sea turtle swallows fishing hook
Texas Sealife Center

After about a month in the care of his rescuers, Captain was eating normally and had plenty of energy, and therefore was medically cleared to be released back into the wild. Everyone who had gotten to know him was confident that he was ready, and was so excited to get him back home where he belonged. 

sea turtle swallows fishing hook
Texas Sealife Center

This past Sunday, huge crowds gathered to watch Captain and another sea turtle, Louisiana, be released back into the ocean. When it was Captain’s turn, volunteers walked him down the beach … 

sea turtle swallows fishing hook
Texas Sealife Center

… and the energetic sea turtle couldn’t stop moving his legs around, eager to get back into the water. 

sea turtle swallows fishing hook
Texas Sealife Center

Finally they reached the water, and without hesitation, Captain dove right under the waves and swam away. While his rescuers were no doubt sad to see him go, they were also so glad that they could help him, and loved watching him swim eagerly back out to sea. 

If you’d like to help other ocean animals in need, you can donate to the Texas Sealife Center