Sea turtle's 'bubble butt' fixed at Mall of America aquarium
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (KMSP) - A sea turtle at the Mall of America’s Sea Life Minnesota aquarium is getting some work done on her backside.
Seamour is a rescued green sea turtle who was hit by a boat off the coast of Florida, causing an air pocket to develop under her shell and giving her a buoyancy problem. The condition, known as “bubble butt,” can be lethal to sea turtles because it leaves them unable to swim properly and dive for food.
“Unfortunately, will the shell healing the way it does, that air pocket is not removable without disrupting the internal organs. So, unfortunately, it’s there to stay,” Sarah Meyers, an aquarist at the Sea Life Minnesota told Fox 9. “[Bubble butt] usually deems the turtle non-releasable because they cannot counter that buoyancy themselves and it leaves them more prone to getting struck by other boats in the future.”
On Tuesday, a team at the aquarium attached a weight to the back of Seamour’s shell to allow her to swim more naturally at the aquarium.
While the weight fixes the turtle’s buoyancy problem, it is not a permanent solution. A turtle shell sheds eventually and the weight is likely to fall off in the future, making Seemore unable to be released back into the wild.
“[Bubble butt] usually deems the turtle non-releasable because they cannot counter that buoyancy themselves and it leaves them more prone to getting struck by other boats in the future,” Meyers said.