Sick storm-hit turtle stranded on Cornish beach

Loggerhead turtle Image copyright Blue Reef Aquarium
Image caption The rare juvenile loggerhead turtle was found on Gwithian Beach near Hayle on Wednesday

A sick sea turtle believed to have been pushed towards the UK by stormy seas has been found stranded on a beach.

The rare juvenile loggerhead turtle was discovered on Gwithian Beach near Hayle, in Cornwall, on Wednesday.

Steve Matchett, from the Blue Reef Aquarium, said a vet, who was an expert in marine turtles, was trying to stabilise the animal.

He said the species was used to warm seas and becomes lethargic in the UK's cold waters.

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The aquarium, based in Newquay, said most loggerheads were born along the coast of Mexico, Florida, in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

Loggerhead turtles

  • - The loggerhead's name refers to its extraordinarily large head, which houses powerful jaw muscles and large beak for crushing crustaceans.

  • - The species is listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

  • - They nest at sites in the Mediterranean and along the coasts of Oman, South Africa, Australia and southeast USA.

  • - Adults can weigh up to 28st 4lb (180kg)and grow to over 3ft (1m) long.

Image caption Loggerhead turtles

Mr Matchett said the turtle, which is about 8 inches (20cm) long, could have been washed up in Cornwall following a severe storm, causing it to be pushed out the warmer water of the Atlantic and further north.

He said: "Turtles only strand in UK waters when there is something seriously wrong with them.

"They tend to fall victim to our chilly waters and gradually become more and more lethargic until they lapse into unconsciousness."

The turtle is now receiving emergency treatment.

"The next few days are absolutely crucial but we have to face the fact that it has been through a lot and the fact it has stranded means it was no longer able to swim or fend for itself," he said.

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